Trans-missions is a walking-talking mission along the power-lines of Herefordshire. Taking place from 16-21 June 2015 as part of the Herefordshire Walking Festival, this solo, long-distance walking performance will follow the lines of electricity pylons – transmission towers – as they cross the county west-east, keeping to the rights of way that allow the pylons to remain visible as much as possible. I must speak to or otherwise engage with every person I meet, forming an unbroken line of transmission. I will carry a rucksack of low-energy lightbulbs, and gift one to each person who offers to engage in conversation with me and/or who offers an inspiring message for me to pass on anonymously to the next person I meet.
Each lightbulb is an invitation to an intimate performance gathering hosted at Dragon Orchard – in the heart of the Herefordshire Big Apple cider parishes of the Marcle Ridge – at the end of the walk on the Summer Solstice. The lightbulbs brought along by those who choose to attend will be plugged in to an art installation suspended in and through the trees, including craft work made by and in collaboration with the local community. The number of people I talk to and who make the commitment to come – or pass their invitation on to a friend who can – will determine the number of lightbulbs that we have for our gathering. There will be local food, tea and cake, cider and apple juice, music and dancing, conversation and laughter.
Trans-missions is a piece about connection, and our relationship to power and energy – both what we use (like electricity), and what we possess (that allows us to care about the ‘environment’, or each other). It is also inspired, in part, by Herefordian amateur archaeologist Alfred Watkins’s Old Straight Track (1925), contrasting the network of ancient lines he perceived in the Herefordshire landscape with these modern lines of power and what they might mean to people and place in the 21st century. This is part of my own, ongoing research into tracktivism: walking and talking in rural landscapes as an activist arts practice.
Trans-missions is generously sponsored by Caplor Energy, a renewable energy installation business which supplies and designs green energy systems – such as solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, biomass and heat pumps – for businesses, households and communities. Based at Caplor Farm, an award-winning family business in rural Herefordshire, they are committed to achieving a sustainable future which not only benefits but also involves the local and wider community. For more information on the full range of services they offer, please visit www.caplor.co.uk.
The project is also kindly supported by – and the final performance gathering will be hosted at – Dragon Orchard, a traditional fruit farm near Ledbury. Dragon Orchard has been at the forefront of championing local food for many years, helping to bridge the gap between producers and consumers with its Cropsharers and Sponsor A Tree schemes. For more information please visit www.dragonorchard.co.uk.