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Liverpool/Sheffield, United Kingdom

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Matthew childs 9 rules of Rock climbing (and life)

 1.Don’t let go- You will think about letting go way before you physically have too. Try to allow your body to keep up with your mind.
2.Hesitation is bad- The longer you hesitate the more time you have to panic and the less likely you are to complete the move successfully.
3.Have a plan- Work through the route in your mind before attempting it.
4.The move is the end- Each move is as integral to reaching the end as the last
5.Know how to rest- The very best climbers are the ones who, in the most extreme of situations can get in to a position where they can rest their bodies and minds
6.Learn to control fear- If you are focusing on fear you are not focusing on what you are doing but instead on the consequences of failing what you are doing.
7.Opposites are good- Focus on physics. Opposing pressure equals balance.
8.Strength doesn’t always equal success- Balance is far more important
9.Know how to let go- Plan your falls where possible a controlled fall is less likely to cause serious injury.
I have spent this last week predominantly researching. Whilst prowling the internet for inspiration I came across the work of two artists that caught my attention.

Hamish Fulton (the walking artist) much like Mathew Barney intrigued me due to the direct Physical engagement he has with his work and his environment. The way he produces work is refreshingly simple yet effective. He walks and he creates pieces of art representing the walk allowing us to engage indirectly. Although the works he creates hold their own as individual pieces of art it is very obvious that it is in the physical process of walking that the true art is created (in the direct influence the exertion has on his mind and body). The two pieces below I found most effective. The first uses text to show the physical connection between three separate biological processes, essentially emphasizing the connection between the mind and the body during physical exercise. The second is simply a photograph of worn walking boots a symbol of the how the process of walking has had a direct physical effect on the artist. It is a powerful image as it speaks for itself with no need for text as explanation, the piece is the walk.
I plan to carry on documenting my climbs as before but as Fulton has done by archiving various found objects and relevant material.

As I mentioned in my proposal I am also interested in looking at and portraying how the mind works during the physical process of tackling a climb. Last year I used video installation to recreate the feeling of anxiety and plan to continue to explore this and to continue to experiment using video and video editing. I was advised to look at the work of Douglas Gordon in particular his film 'Zidane-a 21st century portrait.' A piece of video of a full length football match focusing solely on Zidane. Having no interest in football what so ever I was skeptical however on watching I became instantly mesmerized by the way in which the footballer moved. The piece is filmed in such a way that I forgot that I was watching a football match. Parts of it are so intimate that I felt uncomfortable. It was as if I was witnessing the players thought process's including his anxiety's which ultimately manifest themselves as physical behaviors such as involuntary twitches and exertions of breath. This kind of intimate filming is something I am eager to try with climbing and plan to do so the next time I get chance to climb out doors.


Final year project proposal

Aims and objectives-

I have decided to focus my third year project on Rock climbing. I have been climbing committedly for the last two years and during that time climbing has become not only my passion but also my obsession. When deciding what to focus my final year on it only seemed logical to combine the two things that I spend the majority of my time thinking about, climbing and art. Over the summer I have climbed outdoors whenever the weather has allowed, Trad climbing in the Lake district and the Peak district. Sea cliff Trad climbing in Devon, sport climbing and deep water soloing in Spain. Through perseverance and training over this 5-month period I have managed to climb to my hardest grade yet. The majority of this I have documented through journals log books, photography, film and sketching. I have read numerous books and articles including, The white spider-an account of the first accent of the north face of the Eiger and Touching the void-Joe Simpsons account of being cut off a rope and left to die whilst descending a mountain in Peru and have been inspired to push myself (although not in such a life threatening way.)

I have started the project with the following mini projects.

Firstly I began working a series of three routes called the unconquerables at stannage edge. The left unconquerable is an E1 grade, which is one grade higher than that I have previously achieved and after various attempts currently seems impossible. I have began a study of the climb, through detailed drawing, photography and also by looking through books, internet forums and videos to find out about the route and people who have previously climbed it. By the end of May this year I aim to have completed the route. The obsession has begun!

I decided to try some route setting of my own by traversing the length of my garden wall and documenting it through film and photography.

I have found a lecture on site TED http://www.ted.com/. Called Mathew childs 9 rules of rock climbing. I found this talk fascinating as each of the 9 rules applies not only to climbing but also to life. My two favorite rules being number 5. Know how to rest-“The best climbers are the ones who, in the most extreme of situations can get in to a position where they can rest their bodies and minds” and number 6. Learn to control fear- “If you are focusing on fear you are not focusing on what you are doing but instead on the consequences of failing what you are doing.” I have started to try to apply these rules to both climbing and life.

I have also started to study physical movement and strain during climbing through intimate photography. My aim with this is to portray how an experienced climber moves with the “strength of a gymnast and the precision of a ballet dancer.” (Joe Simpson-Touching the void.)

During this next year I will be exploring themes of; escapism, frustration, obsession, pushing my physical and mental limits and Mind over matter through art and the art of climbing. I will carry on as I have started by documenting through photography, film, log books, journals and written accounts, detailed drawings and paintings.