Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Art of Athletics (6): John Cale - Dreaming in Vertigo

John Cale is probably best known as a founder member of the Velvet Underground, as well as a solo musician. Born in Wales, he went to Goldsmiths College in New Cross before moving to New York in the 1960s.

In 2009, Cale was commissioned to represent Wales at the Venice Biennale art exhibition, making an audio-visual installation called 'Dyddiau Du/Dark Days' which draws on his childhood experiences in Wales. One of the film sections, entitled Dreaming in Vertigo, features Cale running/walking/climbing the twelve hundred or so steps at Dinorwic Quarry in Llanberis, a slate quarry.

'Dreaming in Vertigo'
In an interview about the piece, Cale comments: ' 'I used to love running across the Black Mountains and I would do it from school and I would do it from the house. There's this benefit I join every year for the Lung Association and what they do is climb stairs, they climb 75 floors, and that's what I started doing, and I discovered by doing that that I have vertigo'.

(He's presumably referring here to the American Lung Association's Fight for Air Climbs, 'vertical road races' involving climbing multiple steps in skyscrapers and other tall buildings).

John Cale talking in front of 'Dreaming in Vertigo'
See also in the Art of Athletics series:

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