Wednesday 10 September 2014


Here are some videos of Way Through from the art project 'Scene On A Navigable River', organised by Field Broadcast a month or so ago! The idea was to reassess Constable Country from within via the medium of live, spontaneous broadcasts to your computer, phone etc. We did five pieces throughout the day around Flatford Mill in the Stour Valley, including a song burial for our track 'Dedham Vale' from 'Clapper Is Still'. It was interesting to revisit somewhere we'd already written about as well as developing our ideas on tourism and heritage culture across a day of messing about in boats, flying kites and sudden downpours. Here are some of the results.


Tuesday 24 June 2014

Scene On a Navigable River

Field Broadcast present...


Way Through | Adam Chodzko + Gretchen Egolf | Beth Collar | Ben Judd | Rory Macbeth | Florence Peake | Paul Becker + Francesco Pedraglio | Ian Whittlesea

New live artworks broadcast instantaneously to computers, tablets & mobile phones

9th – 15th July 2014

Download app at http:/

Constable’s famous pastoral landscapes of rolling farmland, rivers and meadows are the setting for Scene on a Navigable River, a series of new live broadcast artworks, commissioned by Field Broadcast a live digital broadcasting platform led by artists Rebecca Birch and Rob Smith. After downloading a special Field Broadcast app, the software waits quietly until the artist’s work is ready for transmission, when a live video stream opens unannounced on the recipient’s computer, tablet or mobile phone desktop.

Field Broadcast have commissioned eight artists to create new works for broadcast from Dedham Vale, location of many of Constable’s paintings including The Hay Wain and Flatford Mill (Scene on a Navigable River). Lying somewhere between the real and the imagined in the carefully conserved chocolate box ‘heritage landscape’ of Flatford Mill and the surrounding area, Scene from a Navigable River forms a fragmented topology of an iconic landscape, exploring both the physical setting and its representation through the personal realm of apps, screensavers and gifs.

For seven days in July, new one-off artworks from artists Adam Chodzko & Gretchen Egolf, Beth Collar, Florence Peake, Ben Judd, Paul Becker & Francesco Pedraglio, Way Through, Rory Macbeth and Ian Whittlesea interrupt everyday activities in offices, homes, trains and cafes across the globe delivering impromptu escapes into other worlds. Some take elements directly from The Hay Wain as their starting point – it’s characters, cloudscapes or colours; whilst others draw on a geographical feature – the River Stour, the wider landscape and its hidden narratives, or its contemporary presentation. Armed with laptops, video cameras and a 3G internet connection, the artists broadcast their works direct from this historical English Romantic landscape without any editing or post production.

Field Broadcast was created in 2010 by Rebecca Birch and Rob Smith to commission new artworks exploring the relationship between the artist and the landscape in a single event that can only be seen via live digital broadcast. Each individual experience of the broadcast is unique, a montage of the Field Broadcast window with the personal clutter of a computer desktop: emails, chat windows, web browsers, wallpaper. Field Broadcast have commissioned projects using animation, text, performances, sculpture and live data from artists including Ed Atkins, Erica Scourti, Susan Collins, Patrick Coyle, Simon Faithfull, Matthew Tickle and Sarah Tripp.

To receive Scene on a Navigable River please download the app from

Funded by Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts and Essex County Council, and supported by the National Trust.

Scene on a Navigable River can only be viewed via an app downloadable from The artworks are broadcast unannounced as live, one-off events between 9-15 July 2014. Dates and times are not given for individual artists.

For more information about the artists please see their websites:,, http:/,, , [Francesco Pedgralio],

Field Broadcast is a live broadcast project connecting artists, audiences and obscure locations through the portal of the computer desktop. Field Broadcast has developed through the practice of, and is run by, artists Rebecca Birch and Rob Smith. Field Broadcast works with live digital broadcast as a medium, commissioning artists to make work specifically for this platform. Broadcasts are made from specific locations, in interaction with the surroundings, which becomes an actor within the work. Broadcasts are sent directly to audiences’ computer desktops (outside of a web browser) through dedicated Field Broadcast software. For each broadcast series a tailored version of Field Broadcast’s software is released. The first Field Broadcast series took place in May 2010 with Wysing Arts Centre in 2011 when Field Broadcast collaborated with Bournemouth University (Field Broadcast: West), Distance Festival and RCA Curating Students. During 2013 they partnered with NearNow at The Broadway, Nottingham. To receive updates go Facebook or Twitter or sign up via

Thursday 1 May 2014


Here are some images taken yesterday from Capel-Y-Ffin in the Black Mountains. The name of the Welsh hamlet translates as 'the chapel at the end' and is situated in the scoop of a hidden valley just waving distance from Offa's Dyke and the border. Capel-Y-Ffin lies eight slow miles south of Hay On Wye, up and down a slim, single track road that takes you through some truly awe-some upland moorscapes dotted with miniature ponies, lonely hikers and streaming ribbons of light that race across the emerald massif. William and Dorothy Wordsworth loved this stretch of the gospel path, often referring to it as one of their favourite walks. Today there's some workmen sleeping in their van in the shadow of the prominent Hay Bluff. The neighbouring spur of land pushed into the sky is called Lord Hereford's Knob. A handglider hangs in its invisible cradle.

Sheepdogs chase your car wheels as you enter the hamlet and park up on a verge. One small farmhouse, post box, phone box, the aforementioned chapel and handful of other residencies make up Capel-Y-Ffin's entirety. In 1924 the artist Eric Gill moved his family into the disused monastery tucked up a trail towards the end of the hamlet and founded his notorious religious community there. Examples of Gill's stonework can be seen on the tombstones that cluster around the wonky owlish chapel. The poet/artist David Jones was also a member of Gill's community and recorded his time there in a number of transcendent paintings. In 1938 Eric Ravilious also stayed for a few weeks at the farmhouse, painting both 'Wet Afternoon' and 'Waterwheel' whilst he was here. Furthermore, Bruce Chatwin frequented Capel-Y-Ffin as a boy, admitting that the place had become an emotional centre in his life, his time there shaping his novel 'On The Black Hill'. It's easy to see why so many people have been drawn to and into this rural idyll. There's an incredible hushed atmosphere to the place that holds your expectations like the air in a upturned cup. When a trio of motorcyclists speed through the middle of the pervading calm, they leave in their wake only the river Honddu to intrude upon the silence, quietly reciting the chapel's east window text...

"I shall lift up mine eyes to the hills whence cometh my salvation."

Monday 7 April 2014

"Rather than simply soundtracking somewhere"

We were lucky enough to be interviewed by Bernie Brooks for Ship In The Woods, makes for an in-depth read on what we're trying to do with Way Through, along with some insights into 'Clapper Is Still' too! Enjoy...

Sunday 16 February 2014

He Who Would Train a Hawk

Here's a very charming film adaptation of T. H. White's poetic book 'The Goshawk' (1951) made for the BBC in 1969 and boasting a perfectly pitched score by Carey Blyton (who is kindly hosting the video). The narrative itself is very different from J. A. Baker's infamous classic 'Peregrine' (1967) in that it deals not with the observation of birds in the wild but with White's own somewhat eccentric, 'on the job' introduction to falconry. White is best known for his sequence of Arthurian novels collectively titled 'The Once And Future King' and so it's fitting that he approaches the tale of training his first bird of prey with a deserved dose of magic and lore alongside noting its harsh realities. As the story develops, White becomes obsessive in the act of taming his beloved hawk, delirious in fact, and whilst 'Gos' is somewhat immovable, T. H. becomes gradually more like the bird itself; fervently focused, immutable and ever harder to decipher. It's a fascinating account, as humorous as it is heartbreaking and bypasses Baker's verbose distance and mystery for a closer study, by bringing the bird to the hand. 'The Goshawk' is an intimate look at how man and bird can interact, understand each other even, without losing any respect for a wildness that never truly breaks.

You can watch David Cobham's "bloody marvelous" documentary here!
New York Review Books recently republished White's book, more on that there!

Native Surrealism