On May 24th 2018 Beat Generation poet and pioneering multimedia artist Gerd Stern, his partner Judith, the author of this post, Michael Toivonen and photographer David Keaton took a walk through the history nocvupied portions of Druid Heights.
To make an informal record of our visit I kept my iPhone, mounted on a hand grip, recording the entire time. We were constantly on the move so, given the obstacle course that is Druid Heights, I could give little attention to aiming the camera. I as well felt the need to make sure Gerd, at 89, did not lose his balance.
The vast majority of the dialogue is between Gerd and I. Gerd shared his memories from his visits to Druid Heights and I did my best to answer his questions based on what I had learned after ~18 months of serious interest in DH.
Gerd had spent several weeks using Roger Somers workshop at DH in 1963 while he built his pioneering multimedia sculpture “Contact Is The Only Love”. On another occasion Gerd told me that besides allowing him to use the workshop Roger had also helped with the sculpture’s construction. But Gerd had, as recorded here, first visited Druid Heights in the 1950s.
It was a real pleasure to spend time at Druid Heights with Gerd. He is a natural story teller who was very happy to be both back at a place that meant a lot to him, and to recall his friendship with Roger Somers and his then wife Barbara.