Seven Rivers Walking : Reviews

“Anyone with a gnats whisker of concern for our environment should track this movie down and go see it -”
BARRIE

VISIT: http://sevenrivers.nz

“Thank-you for the wonderful film that is Seven Rivers Walking. My Mum and I saw this film at Alice Cinematheque on the weekend. It was very moving and a call to action for us both to do more for our environment.”
PIETA

SELWYN - Rescuing Inanga“Your documentary was amazing…to really hit home to me how much hard work there is to do and it has strengthened my resolve to do as much as we can in our park + the surrounding neighborhoods….”
MICHAEL

“Really appreciated  the movie tonight.  We spent 13 years in Ashburton so have a soft spot for the farming world.  Dairying however has changed things. It is too easy for city folk to point the finger at farmers when we have real issues to face. ”
D.W.

“I went to see the Seven Rivers Walking film on the weekend and was very moved by it and as a result am inspired to get more involved in advocating for, protecting and improving our waterways. In response to this film, I have subscribed to the Opawaho Heathcote River Network newsletter with the view to getting involved in OHRN activities, I have put some rocks in the open drain that runs through my property in an attempt to improve water quality and encourage life, I have subscribed to Forest and Bird for myself and my kids and I have started buying Nature Matters milk from XCHC in the basis that they are a low intensive farm with concern for the waterways.”
C. F.

“Went to see this movie/documentary today. Very good. Thought provoking for all NZ’ers. A must see if you are able to go. ”
MARILYN

“This is local film-making to help us understand and care about the gift of fresh water and the future of our rivers. It is respectful of the all point of view and a good 85 minutes to think about how we can back out of the worst of the possible futures for our fresh water.”ALICE

“You and Kathleen definitely captured the depth of concern out there and provided the motivation to keep going.”
SCOTT

ORARI- Rafting 2

“I was greatly touched by the film last night. You and your fellow team have done an incredible job… I thought it particularly powerful by not drawing itself into the politics of this urgent issue – but simply showing us the reality of how it is.”
WADE

“…but just let me add ‘wow!’ So much gorgeous photography – all that amazing wildlife stuff, stunning underwater shots and the beautiful braids from the air – absolutely loved it – incredible job. And you packed So Much In!”
TANYA

“Congratulations, your filming was amazing. Art with a message, a serious message! Hope our new politicians take note, do something positive, we ordinary folk can and must do our bit to protect our water systems.”
JUNE

SRW Dorector and Camera, Gaylene Barnes, in the Rakaia River

Circumscribed: The Poem

I write you running, first.
I sit at a small table, in a one-room cottage
alone, waiting.

But you – you are running.
Running at full sprint; away.
Beneath you is a gravel road.
Beside you is a beech forest, and a river
Ahead of you is the lake.

You run for it.

I am at the table.
I look at my hands.
Small delicate, ladies hands, I suppose.
Designed for embroidery and poems.
Not this rough cottage and it’s dirty pails.

There is an ink stain on my right hand.

I say “Der Zeigefinger.”

You are running the radii,
Aspiring for the circumference.
This edge of our existence,
the magic circle of our biography.
You are always running away from me.

I say “Am Anfang war die Tat.”
[In the Beginning was the Act.]

Singularity
Singularity [Gold and Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]

 

Events happen to you. Drama! It is yours.
Not mine. I just watch you, from this table.

And then there’s her. That terrible demi-god.
Inscribing us both. Defining our 360.
You cannot escape her clumsy manoeuvrings
– but I will not let her move me.

I will remain. Seated at this table.

Knock! Knock! Knock!
I say “Enter”
Three full fat bodies fill the door frame.
Framed by my eye. The frame of this film.
The three of them, who demand toll.

Those three detainers.

TRI
Tri [Walnut Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]
A shiny button, a silver medal, a yellow ribbon.
Big fat hands clasp pieces of parchment.
Dirty boots. A muddy print on my clean hearth.
The fire smokes, splutters in small protest.

I say “With what mandate have you come”
They wave their piece of paper. Inscribed with royal insignia.
“War Regulations. Enemy Aliens.
Detained at the discretion of the Minister of Defence.”

They say things that I don’t [won’t] hear properly.
“Close your business… report to the police station for registration … 20 miles ….”
“no communication with enemy country.”

“Enemy Alien.”

Enemy Alien
I am an Enemy Alien [Gold and Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]

I just say
“Rennen!”

You are running.

I take a map. And a compass.
I draw an X. This is where I am.
I draw a circumference. 20 miles from X.

This is where Others, have allowed Us to be.
The extent of our [current] existence.

There is the edge, just ahead. In the fog.
The circle on the map.
Darkness, darker fog, outside of this.

Try not to forget. Try to remember me.

So, let us concern ourselves with the boundary

We are now spread out to the very edge,
it is our complete.

You stand on the edge, your toes curled over the rim.
it is a deep dark endless cavern, you think.

it is separating –

but it is strengthening –

it supplies the form of me [the mater/matter]
it lets you see me more clearly [the pater/pattern]

circum_nov_9_sq
Descent  [Gold and Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]

Cross the desolate.
The flattened ruin littered with debris,
shipwrecks, razor-wire and mud.
The same cottage, different landscape.
The lake has gone, the trees have gone, the forest disappeared.

You can see my cottage.
My window is glowing by candlelight.

And there I am, at the window.
Looking back at you.
Our eyes meet, for the first time?

To be sure, this place of crossing is frightening,
–to you.

It’s depth is great, it’s height is staggering.
Let us be of a single mind and
without hesitation, pass by, please.

Pass over the boundary.
Do not look back.

It is reflection.

I hear you knock.
You are knocking.

I will let You in.

© Gaylene Barnes, 2017

I WRITE YOU RUNNING
I Write you Running [Gold and Ink on Paper, 2016, G.Barnes]

Total Accumulation: A Cartesian Dream

The notion that knowledge gained during contemplation within study is superior to that gained during experential involvement with nature predominates within our learning centres, guiding the analytical education we receive. The structures of most knowledge gathering institutes assert the importance of maintaining a distance from the objects of study in nature; with universities, polytechnics, and schools even built in isolation from both the natural order and the social order. The ‘ivory tower’ approach has dominated for centuries, providing a steady and ever-increasing procession of information and facts about the ‘things’ we live with. Culminating in the latter 20th century’s over saturation of facts; an environment of ‘knowledge’ too impossible to comprehend, too perplexing to remedy, and too pointless to sustain. These ‘facts’ have [in fact] necessitated the demand for technology and information processing tools. Critic, Michael Kendrick, outlines the thesis of neo-luddite Theodore Roszak which exemplifies this situation: As our world grows increasingly complicated, Roszak warned, we’ve lost the ability to make sense of it. Our technology grows more inscrutable, our politics more convoluted, our foreign policy beyond the comprehension of all but a few. This cultural complexity, Roszak said, is what is leading so many people to try to master the Internet. Many people believe that the computer will give them a way to process and understand the vast quantities of information that swamp our daily lives. The development of parallel processing certainly helped us to manage our information more efficiently. Computer technologies have enabled us to sort, stack, assemble, pattern, sample, divide and conquer our analytical achievements with remarkable ease. The analytical mind after years of long linear processing and serial deduction rejoiced at the acceleration in reaching sequential conclusions. The electronic parallel processor was a logical and necessary development to a mind so ingrained to finding reality in states of succession. Reality is still there, though not in the material realm of the physical universe where the modern era assumed it to be. … I have tried to provide a glimpse of where that reality may be, in the formal, abstract domain revealed by mathematics and computation. [T]he computer has, through its simulative powers, provided what I regard as reassuring evidence that it is still there. (Woolley 254) Woolley looks to mathematical physics and its kin for an authentic world, because mathematical physics is the most revered of all attempts to uncover reality. Computation being the cause to legitimate it’s processes by elliminating the need for laborious and time-consuming manual thought processing. But if the end result of linear de-duction and computation is the need to simulate reality in order to confirm it’s presence then such a knowledge can only be reductive. Sequential thought had forgotten how to claim lateral imagination and vague intuition as legitimate forms to further understanding. Once Copernicus had eliminated place as a basis of the human claim to centrality in the universe, we were at a lost to interpret our spatial experience simultaneously. Descartes replaced it with the reality of our own mental processes—he coined the famous dictum “I think, therefore I am“—a few words which displaced spatial experience, created a referential void, and further dissassociated us from our passages of life. By heralding deduction as the key to understanding Descartes implicitly disdained intuition borne of direct involvement: Whereas deduction involves running through ideas successively in time and retaining some of them in memory, intuition grasps a nexus of ideas all at once. However, if the mind runs through a chain of reasoning quickly and easily enough, deduction can be converted to intuition. Descartes provided the impetus to disdain intuition, if it could be so easily replaced with punctilious reasoning. But the flip side of such ‘reasoning’ cast doubt upon the knowledge of reality (that which firmly established scientific institutions routinely produce), as it coexists with doubt as to existence of anything independently of knower. This is the worm in our modern intellectual and scientific pursuits – that despite all our objective and contemplative stances, ‘truth’ may still be relative. We transfer our wealth of information into cyberspace in the vain hope [unquestioned belief] that truth will emerge. But what does emerge is simply more information, ‘truth’ is actually a value, and therefore there is only truth when it is ‘meaningful.’ Experience is the prerequisite for the creation of meaningful truths. A major twentieth century philosopher, Henri Bergson, developed theories that sought to revolutionise linear thought and prioritise the experential process. Bergson attempted to define the nature of consciousness, particularly the instinctual stream of consciousness by insisting that we attend to to our inner experience. He claimed that states of thought or feeling were interpenetrating organically linked experiences, and that psychology had mislead people by claiming that these states were separate, unchanging things experienced successively as one preceeds another. ‘Instead of regarding our inner life as a flux of fleeting shades merging into each other, we treat it as an array of solid colours set side by side like the beads of a necklace.’ He believed that all is simultaneously present to this consciousness and that it is perpetually mobile, ceaselessly transforming its past into its present through memory, so that its present is composed of an infinite number of interpenetrating tenuous states of being.’ Bergson maintained that analytical reasoning and conceptual knowledge destroyed the inner state of consciousness when it attempts to divide experience into seperate states. Bergson believed that ‘sequential modes of thought and expression were inadequate to realize the fullness and complexity of … modern urban life.’ He proposed that becoming aware of our ‘vital impulse‘ (the direct, immediate experience of living) and thereby rejecting the ‘factitious unity which the understanding imposes in nature from the outside, we shall perhaps find its true, inward and living unity.’ Bergson is proposing that we again take account of the ‘passage over’, a concept of direct involvement which he terms the ‘vital impulse.’ Within the merging of our ceaselessly linked experiences, an organic knowledge will naturally form by accretion. The main problem with maintaining ‘distance’ from the subject is that truth becomes increasingly dissoluble and impossible to locate. The external observer is firstly limited by the “Heisenberg principle”—that observation destroys the thing observed—which has always been an obstacle to the growth of such knowledge. Secondly, the search for simple predictable laws of nature inevitably encounter setbacks due to the enormous complexity of our universe and the variability of measurments of the initial conditions. This type of knowledge inquiry must know everything, measure everything, and be constantly aware of everything in order to be absolutely correct. ‘Truth,’ to date, is nothing more than an intelligent approximation. As designers, we generally find ourselves compelled to impose on our materials some sort of integration, whether it be factitious or ficticious. This is what we do. Our designs are therefore limited in scope and understanding by the knowledge we have accrued. Despite all our best attempts to be creative, we will always fail because this method of imposition allows only for an imitation of nature; we inevitably end up with a simulacrum-—a very poor copy without the essence of the original. For instance, whilst the order of nature continues to move and evolve according to a changeable interrelated logic, the nature ordered by human is so precisely controlled and modified in the search for perfection that the intrinsic quality of the interconnected cosmos is neglected.

Everyday Angels

Angels Tread Softly
Angels Tread Softly, and Sometimes They Wait. [Gold and embossed gesso on board, 90x90mm]

Everyday Angels

I am an angel in training?
Sensitive to the shifting
Hearing in the stillness
Days of silence

To sit and be
To cease activity
Need less
Eat less
Be less
Ethereal
A mere breath

A sigh
A small flap
as I unfurl my wing

© 2009

Sometimes They Wait.
Sometimes They Wait.

How to Depict the Heavenly

“The method of Divine revelation is twofold; one, indeed, as is natural, proceeding through likenesses that are similar, and of a sacred character, but the other, through dissimilar forms, fashioning them into entire unlikeness and incongruity. No doubt, the mystical traditions of the revealing Oracles sometimes extol the august Blessedness of the super-essential Godhead, as Word , and Mind , and Essence , manifesting its Godbecoming expression and wisdom, both as really being Origin, and true Cause of the origin of things being, and they describe It as light , and call it life. While such sacred descriptions are more reverent, and seem in a certain way to be superior to the material images, they yet, even thus, in reality fall short of the supremely Divine similitude. For It is above every essence and life. No light, indeed, expresses its character, and every description and mind incomparably fall short of Its similitude. But at other times its praises are supermundanely sung, by the Oracles themselves, through dissimilar revelations, when they affirm that it is invisible , and infinite , and incomprehensible ; and when there is signified, not what it is, but what it is not.”

From: The Celestial Hierarchy Dionysius the Areopagite (1st or 5th Century), Works (1899) vol. 2. p.1-66.

Dionysius is a great read for artists with a desire to depict the ‘super-essential’. In this article he ponders the many manners in which the Divine Godhead is revealed. Positing that a revelation as light, sun, stars, and fire and flowing water may be very reverent, but it is too obvious and therefore mundane, falling short of the true essence. He compares these to the supra-rational depictions, such as those clothed ‘in forms of wild beasts, and … identity with a Lion, and Panther, and say that it shall be a Leopard , and a rushing Bear … or even a worm’. (Dionysius, pg. 3). He claims that these undefined and dissilimar forms of holy things are apt in that one cannot rest in the thought that this image is true or even close to being true of God.

Angel wings; parachutes
St Michael approaches
Rockets land softly.

NASA litters the solar system, detritus.
Little sparks of Sophia, thrown out in human souls.

St Michael and the Super Sonic Parachute [Pigment Watercolour and Gold on Paper, 2014]
St Michael and the Super Sonic Parachute [Pigment Watercolour and Gold on Paper, 2014]

“… and so Divine things should be honoured by the true negations, and by comparisons with the lowest things, which are diverse from their proper resemblance. There is then nothing absurd if they depict even the Heavenly Beings under incongruous dissimilar similitudes, for causes aforesaid.”

Full article: The Celestial Hierarchy

Two Wills

"The Eighth Day"
“The Incomprehensible Womb” [G.Barnes. Egg tempera and gold on board. 30 x 22cm]
There are two wills. I abandon all others.

1,
The WILL of Sophia:
To SEEK for the Truth.
To never rest until she has found her Beloved.

2,
The WILL of Christ:
To REVEAL Truth realised.
To make plain, this is the art.

 

Geometric Meditation: The Mandorla

The ALL begins with a point.

Yet the point is in ZERO / NO dimension.

Do not yet make the point. The point does not exist. But please contemplate what is before the point….

It is WILL, and INTENTION, and LOVE. It is explosive DESIRE.

You want to create, to start, to begin the journey, to make a mark. You really want to express!  But you must first choose a place to begin, and a direction to go. Because once you select your origin point – there is no going back – your point will immediately activate and create the FIRST dimension. A line is being drawn.

Please take a moment before you place your point. You must first conceive exactly where your point begins, and which direction it is going.

I am waiting for you to choose your origin.

I am waiting for you to choose your direction.

 

A LINE is drawn. It is called the FIRST dimension – but it is not the first thing!

The ‘point of origin’ will become a memory. We forget our beginning so quickly in our material race through the dimensions of time and movement. Can we hold both in our head? Try …  hold the place you are going, and the place you have come from.

… remember the point.

 

©G. Barnes 2016

 

The Magdalene Response

The captivating ancient icon of the Three Mary’s Visiting the Empty Tomb after the Earthquake has Rolled Away the Stone and the Witness of the Angel – is a sublime image pregnant with meaning today. I have incorporated the Russian Byzantium original icon of this narrative (sometimes called ‘Angel of the Holy Sepulchre’)  with an image of the damaged ruins of the Cathedral of The Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch.

“and lo, there came a great earthquake, for a messenger of the Lord, having come down out of heaven, having come, did roll away the stone from the door, and was sitting upon it,”  Matthew 28:2

"The Inbetween Time"
“The Time InBetween: When The Earthquake Rolls Away the Stone” [Egg Tempera and Gold. 60x45cm] © 2015 G.Barnes
The Body of Christ has gone. There is left only a shroud – a ghost, a breath of His essence, a memory, a half-thought. The Liven Logos has gone. The physical Presence has disappeared. Risen or otherwise? At this point in the narrative – it is unknown. This is a significant moment – it is certainly one filled with fear. It is the very moment  after complete dissolution / destruction, yet before any resurrection or rebirth. It is a moment pregnant with the possibility of mind-blowing realizations. In fact, you could say, that because of the fear and the unknown – it is a moment of perfect freedom. The rules of matter, life and death have been abandoned. Faith in physicality has proven false, hope in a Spiritual rebirth is still awaiting. There is only this moment, alive with incredible potential –  but only if courage can be mustered…

“…and his countenance was as lightning, and his clothing white as snow”
Matthew 28:5

 

Christchurch found herself in this position once upon a time not so long ago. In the midst of ruin and destruction there was potential and many possibilities of beautiful new beginnings. Freedom reigned for awhile, and humanity was indeed community. [See our film ‘The Art of Recovery‘]. But Fear caught hold and reigned supreme, and instead of waiting for the dawn of realisation and a new rebirth … we were handed out stricter (old) rules and we allowed others, outsiders, to take control. Courage failed, and now our ‘resurrection’ is very slow, boring and stifled by bureaucracy.

“…and having gone in, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, while they are perplexed about this, that lo, two men stood by them in glittering apparel, and on their having become afraid, and having inclined the face to the earth, they said to them, ‘Why do ye seek the living with the dead?” Luke 24:5

 

How do we allow this fear (remember it is just a ‘fear of the unknown’) to live and become reborn into New Life – as Christ has shown us. Lets look at the response of the Three Mary’s a little deeper and how they responded to death, destruction and loss. In the Icon they each appear to respond to the situation differently: Mother Mary grieves in complete abandon and fear for her physical loss, the mother of James comforts her whose need is much greater, with no thought for herself; while the Magdalene makes stern demands and enquiries of the angel/s.

“…”Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” John 20:15

 

This is the time now, we are the Three Mary’s. Which Mary are you? There are those of us, most of us in fact, who live in constant understated FEAR. We console ourselves with tradition and systems and rules, we fear the past and we fear the future. We promote and evoke apocalyptic thinking and beliefs – these dogmas are possibly the most detrimental of all, giving us permission to inflict mortal damage upon our environment and even to wreck havoc upon our own mortal beings, and the mortal beings of others. Is this the ‘sin’ of the world?  Then there are those who live outside of themselves, who are asleep to their own condition as they look always to the EXTERNAL.  Perhaps to serve others, thinking that this is the way of peace, in imitation of Christ’s service. Or they concentrate solely on material existence.

Then there are the Magdalene’s, those who SEEK answers, look for solutions, demand a better now, and therefore a better future. Magdalenes actively curate hope, vigourously search for realization. They harness their fear into freedom filled courage – await insight, hope for realization. They do not let their fear turn into anger or wrath, or try to simply forget or ignore it. Magdalene’s embrace fear!

Thus, FEAR directed into HOPE, resting upon a ground of FREEDOM, resurrects true REVELATION. This Mary says “You will TELL ME RIGHT NOW where you have taken him!!” Her question is pure, intense – it demands an answer. She is given one. The teacher is revealed to her first, to the Magdalene alone.

‘Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” ‘
John 20:15-16

 

Where the teacher’s revelations lead – I will follow.

In the Earth we find Faith

“Farming in the world requires the cooperation of four essential elements. A harvest is gathered into the barn only as a result of the natural action of water, earth, wind and light. God’s farming likewise has four elements – faith, hope, love, and knowledge. Faith is our earth, that in which we take root. And hope is the water through which we are nourished. Love is the wind through which we grow. Knowledge, then, is the light through which we ripen.” [Gospel of Philip]

Studio - Urban Farm

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