Observation Sculpture: 210872

Observation Sculpture: 210872

ICES Music Train – London to Edinburgh to York by train.

Distance: approximately 560 miles

Duration: including period in Edinburgh, approximately 17hrs 20mins.


Observe: Keep, follow, adhere to, perform daily; perceive, mark, watch, take notice of,

become conscious of; examine and note without aid of experiment; make remarks on.


8.35am      porter looking through window

person passing

we’re silent

someone stops to look, to observe the observers

WAITING FOR THE TRAIN TO LEAVE (written on a small blackboard)


8.40            positioned next to open carriage

equipment being set up

“Jesus, those guys are nice” (American accent)

“goodness me” (with perfume)

Daily Mirror offered to us for ten bob

“look Ma”


8.45            “Santa Lucia” (beautiful)

someone patted me on the head

“it won’t go on the door!” “Put it up against the wall and try to hide it”

“what are they doing that for?”


9.00            a game of draughts


9.05            Wood Green


9.25            “very pretty dear, oh, very pretty”


9.30            draughts completed – all yellow

feeling hungry

“positive effects”, shuffles from side to side, “quite an advance this”

horse with white feet




blonde hair yellow mac

Carlo eating sandwiches moves blackboard

“look at that”


9.35            we’re given a leaflet about a book being produced on the train

a train passes


train picks up speed

it becomes difficult to write


10.10          someone tells us it’s nice to see us here

a girl stands holding the bars of a carriage window looking out

train slows

barrel barrel barrel barrel barrel

cameras everywhere

Carlo reading a leaflet


Ren gets up

Carlo folds leaflet

Woolworths in yellow

someone passes, denim dragging his feet

man with his foot on a line


10.15          “Richard”


Union Jack

a sandwich

lots of patches on lots of bums

someone looking over my shoulder

now she’s gone

someone with a Davy Crockett hat

a large blue diesel passes slowly but stationary


10.20          sound from the next carriage – whirring clapping

a girl in silk passes

Carlo goes to the toilet


10.30          and I’ve been stamped

half an acre of cabbages


10.35          and above everything the music of the track

a backside

a bag

a violin

a gate in the middle of a field

some guy with a balloon in his ear


10.40          TUNNEL


10.45          cranes and cranes

he faces us bends his knees twice and carries on



fired field

she leans on the seat and smiles


10.50          pond

toy windmill


10.55          scratch my head

signal at red


smoke in the next carriage

Carlo shuts the door

another carriage another world


11.05          Carlo reclines

tree tractor bridge elm fence pool cars barrels chimneys

pinks nets greens sand grass furrows grass pylon pylon

pylon pylon bales

washing on the line – blue sheet white sheet


grass hills like ant hills

he hangs on to his camera


cabbage gone to seed

piles of gravel

blue balloon


11.15          gravel pit


telegraph pole

tufts of grass


crooked tree

cricket on a football pitch

piles of coal

she turns around, eyes over back of the seat


11.20          empty trucks, another line

he looks over my shoulder

signal box smoke



lines and lines


drums pigeons

voices singing



11.25          we stop

we start

sitting on the arm of the seat eating an apple

taps his foot, small bites, looks up

water, out of the corner of my eye

apple, licks his lips, gives us the core


11.30          tractor red and yellow cart

people passing

cinder hill


11.35          roses climbing up a fence

six fat chimneys puffing smoke

horse and foal


11.55          black hood sits with us

sun on golden corn

purple flowers

hollow tree trunk

“did I tell you that story”

old lady pegging out a skirt to dry doesn’t look up

he leans on the seat, smokes his cigarette


12.00          he observes me then looks elsewhere

a girl sits with Carlo, talking, he points to Ren and I

we stop

no, we nearly stop

we move slowly

sounds electronic next door like a water whistle

row of terraced houses

pulling into York station


pulse, photo-electric cells


12.05pm    she bangs a guitar – complex of pings and booms emitted

she is young

she writes: I like to see these men

we’re still in York


12.15          someone points

we’re being shown nice books of Icelandic art

I’m being patted on the head again


12.20          a light-meter about three inches from my nose


12.25          Ren turns over a page, looks at what he’s written

three men question the young girl

pages turn over by themselves


12.30          someone is looking at this page as I write

pole after pole

long hut

white gate


silver tube going over a bridge – lorry on the move

book clasped close to her breast

they look at us as they pass



beautiful girl

more cabbages


12.40          conversation on paper:

                    Your work seems consistent. Is it?

Consistently what?

                    Present, I mean to say.

Yes, it’s somehow unavoidable. Are you performing on the train?

                    Not performing, but participating. Any more questions?

I take it you are not British? Do you find much difference between the work you’ve encountered here and that at home?

Generally, in a universal sense, no. But specifically, yes. Actually, I teach English literature – tres academic in a posh school, hee!

What ages do you teach?

                    9th-12th grade, 13-18 year olds. Do you do this every day?

Not always in white suits. I teach art in a college.

                    We all have our realities, don’t we. What have you learnt thus far from the Ices Festival?

One thing: although friendliness may not be universal it runs at least from London to Edinburgh!

Lovely. What are your companions doing writing and writing?

There’s something about words. Although they can be used to divide everything, they can also be used to link things. So our writing helps us to concentrate, to engage with what is happening. Do you have to go? You seem a little tense?

Strange. I don’t feel tense. I just don’t want to miss anything, so I keep looking around. I agree about writing and concentration. Do you have another coloured pen? Do you have to go?

1. No, only a pencil. 2. Only to Edinburgh. Do you know anything about the Richard Demarco gallery in Edinburgh?

1. I have this pen. 2. Yes. We were going to do a piece there, but arrangements were too complicated. Do you want some cheese? Where do you live?

Does that mean you aren’t doing a piece at the gallery, or you are, despite the complications? I’m afraid I don’t like cheese – though I don’t know why I should be – afraid, that is. A place called Epping. A small suburban village on the A11, twelve miles north of London.

We’re not doing a piece; I’m glad as I want some time to walk about in Edinburgh. My ancestors came from there. We were in Epping on Thursday, doing a farm work. We had a meditative, quiet time. The land about there is so beautiful. Exit Farm, Dial House, is where we were.

You must have met Jerry at Dial House. He’s a friend of mine. The second part of our work consists of sightseeing in Edinburgh – taking photos, buying mementoes – without these suits but with slight modifications to our appearance – for instance, silver hair. What part of the States are you from?

Jerry is a beautiful person. I’m too serious. Fran is much more fun. She’s a good talker.

                    Fran: I will listen!

How can anyone be too serious? In a sense wearing the suit and the hood makes other people concentrate on our function (observing, listening, accepting) and not on our individual appearance. Although I think our eyes take on some importance seen though these holes.

Fran: you should mask your eyes! Words are wonderful. So are we.


2.00            still in Newcastle


2.10            pen ran out

train still

red balloon floats along the tracks back towards London


2.12            moving again



tracks from door to door

station without a roof

bridge over the Tyne

charcoal tower


2.15            underneath the arches



fast rocking



smooth straight fast


2.40            a guy in purple almost loses his hat

Carlo lies down on the seat

Ren writes on a card


2.45            another hat almost lost

hand on hip



me. window. track. field. telegraph pole. turn to look at sea. tree. clouds. blue blue sky


2.50            blue sky, three inches wide along the tracks


2.55            fire in the field


3.00            pine wood


3.15            small concrete hut with windows boarded up and a tin chimney


3.30            hills and hills and hills


4.15            empty buildings, outskirts of a large town



no it can’t be


ivy on rock



1.55am       my watch stopped somewhere on the way back and York suddenly appeared out of the dawn fog





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