Friday, 8 October 2010

Martigues - local knowledge

For the story on this space, you might have to get through to the end today's blog, somehow it represents the day in a single shot better than most though, so it deserves to be at the top.

What a great surprise Martigues was, nestled in a small town square I sat for an afternoon and was greeted by locals from neighboring shops and restaurants, kids who lived nearby, people walking by on their way home and the odd person who heard there was a little house somewhere in town and came to check it out.

So what is local knowledge? We tend to think of local knowledge as the best place to buy sausages or the secret swimming location, but perhaps it's closer to home than that. Perhaps it's knowing people like Jenny (below on the right) who walks to school everyday to the town next door, plays in the street or the square here and has friends from all over.
Or perhaps it's knowing people like Ada who is a self-realised mathematical talent. She managed to do this cube puzzle in about 2 minutes (which is approximately 6 minutes and two coffees less than most adults can do).

A painter called Felix Ziem came to Martigues a hundred years ago and decided to never leave, despite his love of Italian painting. It's up to this woman (I'm sorry I have forgotten her name) to keep the collection in order and run the museum than houses his paintings.
Aside from historic art, she is also responsible for a smaller designer whom is yet to make his most important work. Below is a diagram by Theodore who, with the aid of his his mother I assume, has labelled each of drawings with a short confirmation of what the picture represents. Most interesting of all is the way the elements come together like some kind of graphic novel.
Is this local knowledge?
Some people have very exotic stories that cross seas, borders, languages and even lifetimes. Alexandra here is someone who casts her eye further than most, exploring the many dimensions of the human soul in it's ever changing form. We had one of those conversations that travelled miles and miles then arrived somewhere back here and now with no effort at all.

Some anonymous notes from the letter box...

And finally the kind of local knowledge that people mention with a kind of simplicity that makes you feel there is still a whole lot more to discover. This is behind the church that Bernard (who also came to visit and is the local pastor) looks after. What made it such a beautiful find was that this is the place I was offered to construct my house out of it's freight box (which I carry in the back of a car). To enter an absolutely breath-taking space like this as a functional space with walls and a roof and a door like any other, brings new understanding to the way we must use the things, places, histories that we are given and get on with life like normal. Today was a day of stopping to look around me and see the amazing things we are constantly passed on.

Nisha working on construction under a gilded sky.