Cherry Kino

Cherry Kino

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Ulvoa & Kirsikka

Ulvoa (Howl)

Skinny dip
Feel, Touch, Mountain -
Feels like velvet.

The path,
The compromise.





Feels like rain.

Kirsikka (Cherry)

A cherry on top of the snowy mountain

Just far enough out of reach that I


And leave it for another day

Another hour
Because this moment
This exact spot
Is where I want to be

x Martha 

Saturday, 6 April 2013



A stringed instrument hangs on the wall

A strange thing

With markings in a language I don’t yet know

Or care to

So much.

The sound though

That sound

It runs through me like translucent leaf veins held up to the sky

Vivid - too bright

But gentle,
Tender lilt of alien tongue

Inside my mouth

As you

Oh you

Say things

I understand.

x Martha

Friday, 5 April 2013

Some new poetry

There are photographs in all the books I chose to bring with me to Finland. Nadja, Travelling Light, and The Summer Book. It’s interesting that I also feel compelled to create a book with images. I have wanted to since Australia, when I found Nadja but didn’t read it.
Here are some new poems I have just written, up with the dawn.

Toi (Finn)

The rims of her eyes were dark for a blonde -
what was so extraordinary about what was happening in those eyes?
Convulsive, crushing embrace,
beautiful as a seismograph behind great thickets of tears.
You should have hidden her from me,
the beginning of hope.

Light Travel

They were afraid of being left behind.
I opened the front door and only then realised how lucky I was,
waded out into the wet night, fascinated.
When I eventually stopped, utterly exhausted, I was almost alone and it was completely silent.
All those days and weeks of being imprisoned in darkness.
I’ve always been fascinated by woodlands.
The rare, furious joy of clasping
their glorious bosoms stained with earth and grass.
The island became unreal.
Was it something about nature?

Sylva Shade

Something draws me to you.
A berried whisper,
soft tongue of pine,
the promise of a bed of needles
to while away some time
in your luscious sylva shade,
filling myself up with your
strong steady scent
that strengthens my muscles,
stretches my spine.

A cool woody balm
for such a boiling heart.

x Martha

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Arteles Residency in Finland!


I just arrived at this beautiful place in Finland a few hours ago called the Arteles Creative Center. I was (luckily!) selected to come on this residency and managed to rearrange my life a bit so I could be here for the whole of April! I'm looking out of my bedroom window right now, from my bed, and I can see forest and snow, it's so bright and sunny and the sun is warming the room. There is an antler on the floor in the corner - a ready-made sculpture.

Looking around the spaces in this little outcrop of buildings there are quite a few of them, and some skins too, one of a wolf. Thick fur. I wonder if there are many of them around here? There's so much untouched forest that I imagine there could be a few packs of wolves roaming about. Outside there's a great bird sound, perhaps some kind of woodpecker, inspiring all kinds of ideas about soundtracks and images already. Did a grocery shop, and have decided to eat a really healthy, clean, natural diet while I'm here, to try to connect with nature as much as I can and hopefully that will come through in what I make here. Here's a view from my window.

I've unpacked, and all my film stock is laid out on the table. It's hard to know which to begin with! But the Impossible (instant) film stocks are calling my name. I brought a Spectra Pro so I can shoot lovely wider Polaroid images and do interesting things like multiple exposures and long exposures, for example at night. I also brought my Hasselblad (120 film), Kiev 30 (16mm Russian spy stills camera - fitting, considering Finland's historical relationship with Russia), Minolta 16 (16mm spy camera that feels like silk to use! And no, I'm not talking about tampons, though it is about the same size!), Nizo 801 macro Super 8, 600 Polaroid, Job-Pro Polaroid, and a Noon 5x4 large format handmade pinhole camera, with some expired 5x4 Polaroid film to shoot in it.

I came to this place with the idea of a project called 'Travelling Light'. This is a bit of a layered title, since film and photography are all about light travelling. Also, I have decided to experiment with all sorts of more eco-friendly and eco-involved developing and image-making techniques, such as processing film in natural substances, and making cyanotypes that work with the power of the sun to develop them. I've been feeling a bit bogged down by the fact that analogue filmmaking uses a lot of toxic chemistry. The amounts I use are pretty small, but the fact I use them remains. This residency is a chance for me to explore alternative methods that might tread more lightly upon the earth - travel light, so to speak. The irony is that I brought 3 cases of equipment and film stock with me! Not really the light traveller I envisaged! I just couldn't help myself, thinking of all the different possibilities for using different formats and cameras, and I'll be here for a whole month so I want to make full use of this time to create!

Well, being here is lush - it totally makes up for a hellish night spent sleeping on a hard bench at Stansted airport only interrupted by numerous puke visits to the loo because of eating something weird. Yuk! Am feeling a million times better now, but am about to go to sleep for a few hours and give my poor body a break! The strange purging I experienced at the airport somehow fits perfectly with Travelling Light - I've now got fresh fruit and veggies and herbal teas to help my body heal itself and to kick-start this beautiful light time! Another little coincidence happened that makes me think 'Travelling Light' is the right project for me at this time. I've only read one of Tove Jansson's books (author of the Moomin books, as well as a lot of lesser-known but amazing fiction like 'The Summer Book'), and while I was googling my title to see if it was already being used for anything similar, I found a few other things called it too - a theatre company in Bristol, and - you guessed it - a compendium of short stories by Tove Jansson! So I have the book with me now and will read it while here - in Finland, a land Tove Jansson came from and adored, the landscape and feel of which permeate her writing.

Chris Fell - if you're reading this - am missing you already my beautiful. And have already slipped on my ass on the ice, you'll be amused to know!

Thanks to you all for reading, and I'll keep posting about my experiences while I'm here, it'd be ace to know that someone's reading, leave me a comment if you feel like it!

x Martha

New film: The hex of ergot (popping corn)


I've made a new film! I was invited by the Leeds-based art collective Spur to take part in a micro-residency of one day (the Spur Exchange project) at the Corn Exchange, Leeds, and to make a piece of work. This was organised in collaboration with Project Space Leeds too. I willingly took them up on their offer, and made a film in one short day, entitled 'The hex of ergot (popping corn)'. It is a very colourful piece, shot on my Nikon R10 Super 8 camera, and hand-processed in the residency space. There was no dark room so I used a black changing bag to load the film, which worked great. 

So, I hadn't come to the day with much planning at all in terms of what I wanted to make. I knew it'd be a Super 8 film, I knew I wanted to link to the Corn Exchange's history, and I knew I wanted it to be edited in camera, because time was very short and I have enough projects that are in progress, so I really wanted this to be an exercise in completing a piece in a short space of time - a kind of cathartic experience for me, since most of my films take years to finish! I had this experience once before, with a film I made in about 2 hours called 'Chrysalis', as a response to the artist Paul Miller's installation 'Quantum Suicide'.

The Spur project space (unit 23, upstairs in the Corn Exchange for one week) was a bright, lovely space to be in, that Spur had decorated with giant orange cushions, flowers, and there were supplies like coffee, jaffa cakes, and coloured paper. For some reason I felt it was a very Dutch experience - I've been to Holland quite a lot, and really like Dutch design, and their love of colours and clear, bright spaces. But maybe, come to think of it, it was the huge orange cushions! Orange being the Dutch colour 'n'all. A few doors down from here is a new sweet shop selling sweets of old, like rhubarb and custards, popping candy, willy wonka's gobstoppers and the like. 

Somehow, I felt that this sweet shop was really meaningful in an idea that was beginning to come together. Years ago, as a teenager, I read about the Salem witch trials in the 1690s, where more than 250 women were hanged for supposedly being witches. Modern research suggests that the strange behaviour in the town - which was put down to demonic possession and witches' curses - was probably the result of ergotism, which is a toxic fungal infection often caused by eating moldy grain, that can lead to hallucinations and convulsions and other strange effects. Since I had in mind already the fact that my day would be spent in the 'Corn' Exchange, I felt that it would be interesting to relate my project to the space's past history (grain trading) and current state (up-market shopping and eating). The Salem witch hunts sprung to mind while I was in this sweet shop. I realised a few hours later, many sweets having been purchased for filming (and eating), that there is a witch logo on the popping candy ('Fizz Wizz') I had bought! I don't know if that triggered the thought, or not - either way, it's a very interesting synchronicity, don't you think?

Since I was going to make a film edited in camera, I needed to film the title first! This was a bit of a leap of faith, but I trusted my intuition and what I'd seen in the sweet shop, and went for it - 'The hex of ergot (popping corn)'. What was going to emerge from this title was unclear, but I committed myself to the title and trusted in the process.

So anyway, I filmed the sweets, and then I walked around all the shops in the Corn Exchange and filmed various things I saw, choosing the most colourful and sparkling and shining and 'glowing' things that caught my eye (I wrote part of my Masters on re-visioning fetishism in experimental cinema, and have a deep interest in things considered 'fetishistic', and have my own perspective on what a fetish is). I realised, after making my film and hand-processing it, that an idea had now fully formed and was now a material film, ready to be projected.

A very, very big thank you to Spur, and also to Project Space Leeds (PSL) - I had a great time making this film and am very grateful for the experience!

Here is the synopsis for 'The hex of ergot (popping corn)', that I wrote at the very end of the day, after all these threads had woven together to create a work:

'A Super 8 work edited in camera, and shot and processed in one day during the Spur Exchange artist residency, ‘The hex of ergot (popping corn)’ is a musing on the connection between grain, ergot (a poisonous and sometimes hallucinogenic fungus that can grow when grain is damp), the witch-hunt trials in Salem in the 1690s, and consumerism in Leeds. While popcorn and cinema have a long and well-known affinity, the Spur Exchange residency took place in the Corn Exchange, where corn and other grains used to be traded. It’s now full of shops and restaurants, and has a carefully monitored aesthetic and ambience. My film came from a feeling that these things are all connected. More than 250 women were hanged for witchcraft in Salem because of strange behaviour that was attributed to demonic possession or witches’ curses. Modern research suggests that this was probably the result of ‘ergotism’, a toxic fungal condition caused by ingesting mouldy grain that causes hallucinations, convulsions and many other violent physical manifestations. The bright colours and gaudy trinkets in the shops in the Corn Exchange made me think of a kind of sugary, gobstopper-coloured hallucination, and that altered states and consumerism are closely connected. I then started thinking about systemic candidiasis (a condition a huge number of people unwittingly suffer from), where consumption of sugar leads to an overgrowth of fungus in our bodies causing mood -swings and depression as well as many other imbalances. This then causes a sugar addiction and further deterioration, creating a vicious circle.

As for the fate of hallucinating shoppers…  only time will tell.'

Thanks for reading!

x Martha