JesseJames in conversation with Art Historian Aodhán Rilke. Transcript of the Q&A to follow.
Where grass is grass and not cut every month. Where stone is stone and is not polished.
Words and Image: Sean Scully, Walls of Aran (2007)
aristocracies long gone
but for the stones
Image: James Francis Moore. Words: Contemporary Haiku by Anton Kinsella, County Cork.
There is hardly an hour I am with them that I do not feel the shock of some inconceivable idea, and then again the shock of some vague emotion that is familiar to them and to me. On some days I feel this island as a perfect home and resting place; on other days I feel that I am a waif among the people. I can feel more with them than they can feel with me, and while I wander among them, they like me sometimes, and laugh at me sometimes, yet never know what I am doing – J M Synge, The Aran Islands, 1907.
To look back through it along the headlands that stand as if fixed for all eternity, one behind another to the limits of vision, is to look into the jaws of time – Tim Robinson, Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage.
A view from the JesseJames Seat, located on a beach on Inis Oírr where the artists found inspiration. It is said that this was JesseJames’s favourite seat on Inis Oírr. Situated on Trá Caorach and overlooking An Sunda Ó Dheas, the sound between Inis Oírr and the cliffs of Moher.
Take it from me, a bystander, that when you are under the spell of your own time you are as interesting to watch as were those before; it is always the same plot: Soul – Soul. It was your humanity in response that adds life to it and makes tending it so worthwhile. You are our television – Dennis Severs 1948 – 1999
I described how the dolphins had danced on an evening of silken calm, leaping clear of the water in graceful arcs that crossed in pairs; as I had sat in a little field above the bay to watch, their plunges had been the only sound in the world. He listened to me expressionlessly, then turned his eyes to the dingy window and the dingy sky beyond. “That’s right” he said, and on Sunday morning they were all kneeling on the beach!”
Words: Tim Robinson, Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage. Image: detail from Inisheer Zibaldone by JesseJames.
It is a pity indeed to travel and not get this essential sense of landscape values. You do not need a sixth sense for it. It is there if you just close your eyes and breathe softly through your nose; you will hear the whispered message, for all landscapes ask the same question in the same whisper. I am watching you – are you watching yourself in me?
Words: Lawrence Durrell, Spirit Of Place: Letters And Essays On Travel. Image: JesseJames.