Barnaby Tydeman – Greece

Barnaby Tydeman explores landscapes (cities, wildernesses, dormitories) and their layers of memory. Living and working in Bronze Age European landscapes has enabled research and fieldwork in Greece, Italy, Sicily and Britain. These landscapes hosted the transition from Stone Age groupings to stratified Bronze Age societies, and were the ‘rack’ on which to hang myths and stories (although the landscapes themselves also stimulated the spawning of story-personages and deities). These stories, passed on orally and through cultural memory, survived the total destruction of written culture and ‘civilisation’ during the Aegean Bronze Age Collapse. A body-jumping poetic voice enables a layered collage of memory, and by involving the environment in the work (e.g. allowing crystals to develop on photographic negatives) latent layers can emerge. Of particular interest are the layers that have been ‘scrubbed’: the layers of refugees and the oppressed, whose presence in the myths have to be interpreted through the impositions of victors/oppressors. Interestingly, the Aegean Bronze Age seems to have collapsed because of climate change and rigid, top-heavy societies; coalitions of hungry people, who could move faster than the chariots of the priestly ‘nobility’, probably did the rest.

Barnaby Tydeman is from London and works in children’s publishing in Athens, Greece. He was poet in residence and caretaker at an organic farming project in Sicily for the winter of 2015-16, and recently spent three years living on a cruising narrowboat in and around London, researching a work that deals with climate change and social inequality. He was published in the anthology Futures: Poetry of the Greek Crisis (2015, Penned in the Margins, edited by Theodoros Chiotis). When possible, he travels overland/sea by train and ferry. He has recently worked in disability services and education and is enthusiastic about social activism.