"What quality went to form a man? When a man is capable of being in uncertainties, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason..." John Keats, 1817
I have this quote scribbled on my bookmark, there to reassure me that when I don't have any idea what the answer to a given question could be (an all too common occurrence), I needn't panic. In fact, perhaps this is the condition in which 'man' is at its best.
In a blog published in the Huffington Post, Dr Ali Binazir did some calculations and estimated that the probability of each of us being born is one in 102,685,000. As a comparison, Benazir goes on to note that the approximate number of atoms in the known universe is 1080. So being born is quite unlikely. I am often concerned about not making the most of my time on Earth, and think a lot about how I can squeeze every last beautiful drop from the spongy opportunity of life we have each been given. Since I was a child I have dreamt of having the opportunity to explore the world, in every sense. To follow an idea and see where it leads, to see how things are connected, to investigate what makes a human a human and a parrot a parrot, what makes the world work and how can we make it a better place? What does 'better place' even mean? And I think I may have found one, at least partial answer.
In the summer of 2015, I became a 'Human in Residence' at FoAM Kernow. Since beginning this residency, my main project has been through several incarnations. I have often been uncertain, had doubts, and have had to fight to stop these feelings from stopping me in my tracks. I have wiggled and squirmed and rummaged through a range of possibilities. But I finally feel like I may be emerging onto the comparative mud flats. As the murky tidewaters of my early forays begin to recede, what I am finding is a blank canvas. A space of opportunities. The opportunity to roll up my trouser sleeves and set off wandering and wondering. The opportunity to make big splodgy footprints and to explore the tremendous wealth of diversity contained in these ecological habitats. The opportunity to get really muddy. This blank canvas is a place. It is a place to explore all the possibilities, opportunities and ideas that working at a place like FoAM presents. I hope that I can build this place, creating somewhere where I can pursue my own interests, enable others to do the same, and find and foster new collaborations and cross pollinations.
In these pages I will document the progression of this project - through its slips and slides, sticking points and silty solutions.
(By the way, a quick explanation of the mud reference – the picture above is the view outside the FoAM Kernow studio).