A Row of Trees

The Journal of The Sonic Art Research Unit

Laura Harrington – Haggs

Haggs – something unseen which often comes before a thing

Between 2014 and 2015 I drew a number of intricate black and white ink drawings, concerned with peat haggs, blanket bogs, erosion and weathering.  As I intuitively drew line after line I considered a number of eroded forms (haggs) in relation to the idea of absence – a hole even – as something unseen which often comes before a thing. It feels important to say that Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) somewhat pervaded this process with the kind of animism he promotes.

That same summer I gave my son a guide book on spotting pebbles. It featured a hag stone, that for me at least, converged with wider contemplation around peat haggs and the kind of thinking about vibration that Patrick was exploring: two permeable and temporal states which are constantly on the way to something else.

Hagg # 2 was observed as I walked around Flow Moss; Haggs #2-5 were observed as I visited Moss Flats, Moor House – Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve over a year between 2014 and 2015. Both are areas of eroding peatland consisting of extensive bare peat and isolated peat hummocks that sits within the wider North Pennies landscape in Northern England. The meaning of the word ‘hagg’ actually comes from the old Norse word for ‘channel’. As much as it is confusing, I like the way the word has evolved to define the left-over form. An example of how language is adapted by those who use it. I consider these drawings to be a series of eroded landform remnants, a kind of species that reflect a certain relationality and interconnectedness. Each one acting like a personality, a spirit creature shaped by a multitude of forces and processes.

Peat haggs are in essence something of an absence, akin to something unseen. Similar to the hole in hag stones – potentially also coming before the rock – or thinking with vibration – as a fluid agency  – they  all make boundaries and our understanding of them more permeable.

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