The following excerpt is from a correspondence that took place between Ruth Le Gear and Pádraic E. Moore in Spring, 2015.
It’s a couple of years since we had an indepth dialogue regarding your work. At the time you were in the process of preparing to begin a research residency in the Arctic, during which you were going to be sailing in the waters near the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. That residency seemed ideally suited to you in that it facilitated a furtherance of your exploration of the element of water which was even then of major interest. I imagine that some of the experiences you had on that residency have been significant to your subsequent work, in light of your research into water and the notion that it can hold information and ‘memory’. Perhaps you can elaborate upon some of the ways that residency shaped your current practice? I am curious to know if some aspects of that residency informed the research that you carried out at CCA Laznia?
The time I spent in the Arctic was the most profound experience that has left me continually searching for ways to return there, it was the closest place to a spiritual home I have experienced. I spent my time there on a tall ship travelling around Svalbard; a remote archipelago halfway between the north of Norway and the North Pole. I had always wanted to go there and experience the primal purity of the icebergs and the wilderness. It was a pivotal point in my practice. I had been exploring the landscape through methodologies of homeopathy, unraveling stories and emotions from the land. I wanted to start making remedies from water, seeing as the process of homeopathy involves serial dilutions. There is a paradox in this somehow, to make a water remedy with water. I decided that if I was going to do this and make water remedies, then icebergs were the water I would make them from. There was something in me awaiting to see the icebergs and the experience outshone that of seeing the Northern lights, which was otherworldly and sublime.
While on board the ship I felt like I was internalising everything delicately. It is such a pure crystalline environment we were immersed in. The importance of simple moments became more apparent and important. It was an unforeseen curiosity to be on board a ship with 24 other artists in this vast wilderness. I collected a number of iceberg and seawater samples throughout the journey and made water remedies from them. These intimately scaled ice and water remedies are poetic and theoretical as well as being catalysts for healing within the waters. The remedies, based on homeopathic processes of serial dilution form tiny time machines where each ice sample was explored to see what was held within it. For example, I made one remedy from the waters just after a Glacier had birthed an Iceberg, which is releasing the past and bearing witness to the last phase of its life. This remedy is like a gently comforting, lasting embrace. It is for people who work with others , who are likely to attract strong challenges from diverse and sometimes dark energies from time to time. As well as this there is the global situation which is increasingly shrouded in threatening shadows. This remedy provides a soul shield protection on multiple levels while helping us to bring the light we carry within safely through with strength and certainty.
I further explored the potentiality of ice in terms of water remedies resulting from fieldwork investigations of the glacial landscape of North Leitrim (In Ireland) over the past year. I began resonating with the emotions embodied on the landscape. Trying to meet their polar opposite vibration through a ritual conversation with the lake water and an iceberg. This work then developed as I started to find points within the land that were unexpected, having remedy sessions with underground car parks and places where I was not necessarily drawn to but the work took me there. This has been a steep learning curve for me, to listen to my intuition and follow the work. This aquatic trace was deeply grounded in my time in CCA Laznia at Nowy Port.
The Iceberg collected at Magdalenefjord Gravneset has the most majestic energy. I made a remedy from the iceberg. As a remedy this iceberg seems to be universal and needed by all. Its potential properties for those that wish to take it are far ranging. It raises consciousness of those that take the remedy and grounds them. It brings clarity to those that take the remedy. It also works with all the waters in the body, which is probably not surprising seeing as it is in iceberg. I have used it with people and have had great results healing encephalitis and fatigue as well exhaustion. The remedy enables deep rest. I started working with the Magdalena water in Nowy Port in Gdansk when I first arrived there in May of 2014. I start by having 'conversations' with the waters, remedy treatments as such. And then giving specific Iceberg remedies to the waters . The Magdalena remedy resonates with the 'hidden' path and after working with the waters in Nowy Port over the winter it is interesting to see that the two remedies are resonant of each other.
It would seem that during the residency at CCA Laznia you engaged in research regarding the sociopolitical history of the environment in which you were living and working. In particular the history of the Martwa Wistla. This was perhaps inevitable considering how loaded this environment is. In this way you were exploring both the natural and historical resonances of the topography. Were any of the actions you performed during your residency carried out in response to the
specific historical occurrences histories of the location? Perhaps these were motivated by a desire to retrospectively remedy past traumas which you were aware of?
My first conversation with anyplace when I arrive is with the waters, and I go from there. I try and not to research a place before I arrive so I can get a clear undisturbed reading of the land and waters. Of course, it being Gdansk and a branch of the main river, there was a lot of history held there. I found it curious that when they redirected the canal through the city they called it the Dead River. I did have a desire to set a catalyst of healing in process in the river. Even just the language around it was enlightened somehow, there is no life in this river, no movement in the waters. There was a connection between the people and the waters there in a very sensitive way, from the people sitting around the inhalation mushroom in Sopot for healing to the naming of the waters in the Marta Wistla. During my research residency had an in depth tour of the Port area, as well as taking a kayak around the canals and water systems of the city. I decided not to visit the Westerplatte monument as I felt I would be overwhelmed by the resonance held within this monument. As well as the stream of people who visit the site to perpetuate its memory. I visited the waters surrounding it instead. It was very close to the residency building. Westerplatte is a peninsula in Gdansk, located on the Baltic Sea coast mouth of the Dead Vistula (one of the Vistula delta estuaries), in the Gdansk harbour channel. From 1926 to 1939 it was the location of a Polish Military Transit Depot, sanctioned within the territory of the Free City of Danzig. It is where the first shots between Polish and German forces during the Invasion of Poland and thus the first battle of World War II. My process involves walking meditations until I find a place to communicate with the waters. While in CCA Laznia,I visited many sites from the port to wells and sacred streams. I start with the Arctic Iceberg remedies to pick up a resonance of what is going on in the water. From there I take water samples and make remedies from them. I then take the remedy to see what it brings forth. Working in the Port was interesting for me. In previous times I would tend to over look the polluted dark disturbed places and look for the clearer sites of work. My work there was with the water and it was after months of work with the remedy that I discovered what it was for. In my research I ingest the landscape in the form of a remedy and process it, bringing the remedy forth. For three days while making the Nowy Port remedy I lay in bed with a high fever. My dreams were full of the sounds of whistles and gun shots and small amounts of light shining through cracks in a tower. The whistles turned out to be an old way of navigating the canal before it was widened. It was called the turn of 5 whistles. In the old days when ships would approach from both ends they would whistle to let each other to let each other know they were coming. The remedy is so full of light and hope and joy. I was confused when I first discovered it and made it again. I didn't think a place with such grief,
trauma and pollution could hold such light. It reminded me that nature will always find a way to heal itself and that we can't turn our backs on places on those places which seem destroyed. To me waters are recorders of information. They record time and it also holds the key to unlocking itself, alchemy within water. In homeopathy you treat like with like. This has been my process here, making remedies from the waters and returning them to themselves. The return of the waters is always as a frozen sphere. This alchemical waters reflects ideas of the ouroboros as an archetype and the basic mandala of alchemy. Thus I am making a remedy from the water and then I 'return' it to the water. I am setting in place a process of 'healing' by giving it a focus that it currently does not have. The contradiction of a remedy made from water and diluted with itself presents interesting questions around the uses and permutations of a landscape whose energy fields mediate and co-exist with the human body.
Implicit in your work is the idea that water is an element deserving much greater consideration than it is currently given. Do you think that the manner in which water is regarded and mistreated in the contemporary world typifies the general condition of our self destructive techno rational society and our relationship with the natural world?
In this time there is a new kind of ecology with new and different actors. Obviously, there are humans, animals, and plants. But now there are also technological actors. For example; robots, networked sensors, that observe various aspects of our world or technologically manipulated organisms which are biological in nature but technological in origin. Water to me shows what we can otherwise never quite take in, the submerged, the visible and the invisible the
universe reflecting itself through the waters. The water remedy work has transformative power subverts determined physical structures by inviting a growing awareness of the imperceptible and temporal forces that surround the human. (In doing so) I utilise inventive methods to capture distillations of an ephemeral environment and bring them together within a poetic immediacy that underlines the paradoxical nature of water and its influence in shaping biological systems. Water suggests possibilities, the potential for transformation through the imperceptible and the subversion of physical forces.
There have been a number of figures in the recent past who have been proponents of what might be termed ‘water consciousness’. The most renowned figure associated with this movement is probably Theodor Schwenk who published several fascinating books on the subject the most renowned of which is entitled Sensitive Chaos. Schwenk, who died in 1986, postulated that the closer water is studied the more it reveals itself as a living substance, which upholds cycles necessary to support all life. Another assertion held central to advocates of water consciousness like Schwenk is that water is living and can therefore become deadened as a result of the way it is treated. Would I be correct in thinking that you share similar ideas?
I do share very similar ideas, it is a curious word consciousness a term that to me means awareness of oneself and something within and outside of oneself. I think water has a consciousness and an awareness. Like a lot of people who may not be aware, the water remedies activate this awareness within the waters that are in an unconscious state. With the Arctic remedies worked with Masaru Emoto, who is best known for his ideas that human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water. Emoto's hypothesis has evolved over the years of his research working with frozen water crystals. He believes that water takes on the resonance of the energy, which is directed at it, and that polluted water can be restored through prayer and positive visualization. He shows this through changes in the crystals exposed to different words and sounds. He grew a crystal for me from the meltwaters of an iceberg from the Magdalena iceberg. I then took this crystal image and made a remedy from the image. As well as projecting the image into various water bodies, almost an equal opposite of Emoto’s process. This is something that I will study further this winter at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in Lapland, here I will explore the repeated crystal patterns in dilution process of the cloning of the glaciers through the homeopathic process.
When discussing the research you carried out at Nowy Port you mentioned the idea of ‘redeeming the feminine’. I wonder if you can elaborate upon this? Does this indicate that you equate the element of water with femininity? If this is the case, perhaps you can explain why?
The Nowy Port waters as a remedy is a feminine remedy, it allows one to take a focused, committed and unfailing action. Meeting outer threat not with aggression but with the clarity of a positive outcome. Highly recommended for emergencies, major crisis or when one is feeling truly threatened. This essence helps us to avoid distraction and giving our power away to a source of potential harm. It would seem that by making a remedy and returning it to the waters there, that this place is a key to redeeming in the Feminine in the sphere for the planet. I know these are rather grand statements but it's a conversation with the waters that I am expressing. It is as if when the first shots of WWII here brought the world down a degree on the scale of perceived separation from Unity, polluting our ability to feel the Presence of the Feminine and therefore access the universal spirit. There is something in this remedy that will help everyone it seems. At the time of WW2 I feel that women stepped into men's roles and this was indeed empowering but it was also stepping into the masculine sides of themselves. This remedy seems to allow this femininity to come through in a more natural way without any force or trauma. I don't think I would equate water with femininity, it is beyond those modes of being I feel. When working with the water remedies, sometimes the self seems to just melt away. And when that happens, the feeling is ecstatic. After taking this remedy and meditating with it, I find that I am walking in harmony of the rhythm with the earth itself. This is a calming soothing, gently grounding remedy it helps to come back to earth, especially after deep meditations.
Although your work operates on several levels, it would seem that one aspect that’s become more prevalent lately is that which seeks to raise awareness about environmental issues. At present your work seems preoccupied with the interconnectedness of life on planet earth and the fact that the balance sustaining that life is fragile. I’m interested to know how you would feel about your work being being categorised within the genre of ECO ART? Although as problematic as any term used to describe artistic tendencies it is a useful one which could be applied to your own practice.
I find it problematic to categorise my practice; the edges touch upon so many realms. I feel that art is wide open for interpretation. Everyone's readings are valid. I wouldn't easily categorise my work as 'Eco art' (or 'land art' for that matter). Saying that Arctic Iceberg remedies initial intention was set in place a healing for the waters in the Arctic during this time of melting. My intention by bringing the waters to other parts of the world and having these remedy sessions with it waters, was to begin an aquatic trace. I am intentionally trying to start a process of healing within the waters but I find "eco" is a politically loaded term. I have been thinking about labels and language a lot recently and I am enjoying the words hybrid artist, transdisciplinary practice based research is a bit of a mouthful, sometimes I’m not even sure of my label as artist nor of that as healer. My interests lie somewhere at the juncture where the rational and emotive intellects meet to sublimate a common inventive language. I am interested in exploring the psychological and philosophical features of the human condition that allow one transcendence of physical and psychological boundaries of human experience. The intellectual dilemmas that shape the psyche when one confronts the feelings and experience of the sublime. Inflecting this research I work to fuse research and experiential creative technologies. To study how a sense of place, material, being, interconnectedness can be experienced in terms of connotation, as well as denotation. To organize these perspectives from different viewpoints as important ways of seeing
and being. In turn, I believe understanding this experience of the sublime can have far reaching effect, elevating and edifying what it means to be human and our relationships within an ever- changing environment.