Jim Carter
JIM CARTER

HAWTHRUM

In July 2019, walking in fields near Goss Moor, I was led by a strong smell of death and decay to a line of hawthorn trees, and found there, lying in summer shadows, the body of a badger. Two crows flew from high branches as I crouched and entered the space, and I thought of them not only as predatory (for that was surely their purpose) but they were guardians, too, though tricksters of brief observances. My sense was that I had disturbed a secret rite known only to the hawthorns, the crows and the hour, and thus the duty was passed on to me to pay homage to the animal, and to bear witness.

I returned to the badger two or three times, making recordings and gathering as much of the remains as seemed respectful. Material of earth and twig, hair and bone, are all imbued with truth and meaning and are, in that sense, infectious. I felt clearly that I wanted to use the earth and sounds to imagine an alternate and merciful fate that is otherwise denied this beautiful yet persecuted creature. Six months later, I thought to break an egg into her mouth and drive teeth and bone into her body as part of a petition for compassion and healing. Awakened spirits moved on the wind in the hawthorn twigs and entered her, and the animal, having endured a great suffering, turned from the first light of spring - which I have always thought a beneficent and animating fire - toward a medicinal earth.

Brock made the sound of the spring and bent toward medicinal earth
Hawthorn wood, egg yolk, badger fur and fox skin, sheep, badger and fox teeth and bone, blackbird skull, sett earth, twigs, moss, leaves, bark, burr, alder cones