Wittgenstein Glossop Project

April 27, 2011

In memory of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, Manchester School of Art students went out onto the moors just over Glossop to attempt to fly some kites or similar contraptions. These moors were the very same moors Wittgenstein went as a young man to fly various chemicals at different altitudes in his own home-made kites when he worked as an assistant to science students studying the chemicals properties. The kites for this project were not really to do with his scientific work, but more to be used as a symbol for his philosophical thinking, the flight of the mind, imagination – all of which we are exploring as artists.

My own kite was a mini version of a traditional kite shape, I made it from acetate to withstand the moors’ wind, rather than just tissue paper which I’ve seen other small kites made out of. It did have a beautiful purple tail to but, alas, this came off in my bag. It was quite a lucky thing however, as normally the tail stabilises the kite as it flies, but without it the kite was able to dance around in the wind with a life of its own! Many people tried to capture its dance on film or in photos but most of the time it bounced out of shot, there was only once when I managed to capture it for any real length of time as you can see from the video below.

What happened that day on the moors will be blogged about by many, but the whole experience can never fully be captured. I’m sure that this little dancing kite and it’s reluctance to be captured on film signifies much of what was trying to be achieved; but between the laughter and general mirth of the whole day, I think I’ll avoid labouring the point…

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