Stonehenge – Monday 10th September
The rain has returned. Well it did this morning on and off, but the weather forecast suggested sunny, cloudy spells this afternoon so we’ve driven up to Stonehenge and set up, and of course there are the first spots of rain…The sky is full of grey blowsy clouds, but will they empty their load on us, or just tease? We will persevere.
Mark is sitting by the chain link fence being serenaded by a gaggle of German tourists on the roadside who obviously aren’t about to part with the entrance fee. They photograph and chat before heading back to the car park.
It isn’t too hectic up here, though a large coach party has just arrived. A usual mix of visitors from the countries of South East Asia and Northern Europe, but a distinct absence of school age visitors. I guess they’re all back at school. I’m assuming there will be school parties visiting throughout the year, but we have yet to find out.
The stones are quite flat today, no dramatic illumination since the sun is firmly blocked out. It’s funny how some days they look entirely spectacular and majestic, magical even, and others, like today, they look almost inconsequential.
A helicopter flies overhead and into the cloud. It’s actually warm today, windy (surprise, surprise) but not cold. So far the rain is holding off.
As Mark’s drawing emerges, people stop to look. They’re listening to their audio guides but looking at Mark’s drawing rather than at the stones. I wonder how much he could charge to let people watch him draw? Would individual people pay for that? I reckon people stand and watch him drawing for longer than most people stand in front of a finished picture in a gallery. People walk round exhibitions remarkably quickly. Perhaps they’ll sit watching a video installation for longer. Maybe this is what compares. He is a type of moving image installation. And yes, it could be compared to a performance, but Mark will always contend that when he does his large-scale live drawings in galleries and museums, it isn’t himself he’s drawing attention to, it’s the point of his pen. And so it is here, except he’s doing this for his own purposes and not as a commissioned piece.
It’s getting so dark peoples’ automatic cameras are employing the flash mechanism. Sparks of bright light puncture the gloom.
I walk outside of the monument field and on to the road side of the chain link fence to get the non-paying tourists’ view of the artist at work. Immediately I’m stopped by a German man who asks me if I know the way in. I point him to the entrance and say you have to pay. He says, “No. No. Not to go in. I just want to walk around the outside.” I tell him for that, you have to pay. He tells me, “No, no. This is terrible!” Then another chap, English in a shirt and tie, asks me, “How do you get in without climbing the fence?” I point him to the entrance. The German man tells him, “You have to pay!” He says, “That’s no good. I only want a picture!” And he walks along the fence to find a good spot. The German man looks at me and shakes his head. “Terrible.” He says.
A green soft-top army truck drives past repeatedly hooting.