Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Summer Solstice Ritual 2011 / Solomon Wild / Secret Filming
I recorded this footage at Sun rise on the Summer Solstice in a piece of commercial wasteland in SE12. It captures, what I believe to be a secret ritual, performed by the mysterious underground character; 'Solomon Wild.' Solomon Wild Folklore
Very little is know about who Solomon is,.. or even if that is really his name or was given to him. All I really know of him is through folklore and myth. He seems to be some kind of herbalist and cryptographer, an explorer and mapper of London's wild corners and cracks. His purpose for and exact line of research is not altogether clear.
I am pretty sure I have received his Short Wave radio transitions a number of times over the years. It has only ever been a one way monologue and he only uses code to communicate by [mainly Morse but sometimes lesser know, older aquatic codes.] The content is usually reels of strange fractured sentences, single words, locations and times. Despite his anonymity, he has become a kind of distant collaborator to my work. The Summer Solstice Ritual
It is said that every Solstice and Equinox, Solomon performs various rituals, contacting spirits and making magic to both use and aid the seasons. These are said to be held at secret locations around the city. Anticipating this event as ever, I posted messages on various types of forums and contacted others, in order to glean any information I could about the where abouts and/or the nature of this Summer ritual. All my digging proved unsuccessful.
Then, the day before the Solstice, I routinely checked my various threads and to my excitement, found I had one response. This was on the forum pages of the London graffiti website; rockingthecity.com. It simply said '24 Gb 459'. At first I was hugely disappointed, thinking this was just scrambled net coding. But after pondering over it for a while I realised the last three numbers; 459 was in fact a time; 4:59 am. This was the exact time of sun rise, on the day of the solstice. After cracking this, I then worked out that 24 Gb were in fact coordinates for a map. They correlated with my London wall map inside The Lighthouse and pin pointed an area of roughly 2 square miles. It is in the district of Lee in the borough of Lewisham. This is an area familiar to me and knowing Solomon seems to have some kind of relationship to the cracks of the city including its wild wasteland space, I knew it could only be one of two places.
I visited both patches that evening at dusk, as reconnaissance. After circling the walls of each and peering through the gates, I decided on the second place; a piece of commercial wasteland at the corner of Baring Road, SE12 as the spot I was going to return to for the Solstice.
The land used to accommodate a local diary but has been desolate for fifteen years. It is now owned by the Yellow Box storage company but due to on going lobbying by local residence, the companies applications to develop the land have been repeatedly rejected. Over the last fifteen years the land has been cut back roughly 6-8 times. There is a striking variety of weeds in this large patch and is completely closed of to the surrounding main roads by a high grey wooden fence. On it, hangs a large sign which threatened 24 hours guard and dog security by a company called 'StrongGuard'.
The following morning on the Solstice, I set off before dawn. Equipped with my old video camcorder and camouflaged overalls. I used a street bin to climb on top of the bus stop and then lowered myself down the other side. I plotted down in a corner behind the thick bushes of Buddleia on an old mattress and waited for the first signs of day light, hoping it might bring me a glimpse of Solomon. The perfume of the local wild flowers scented the air and it felt like there was magic afoot.
With dilated pupils and a beating heart, I waited in the twilight.
Here is what I saw. ...