This post was originally delivered as a talk on 1st October 2016 as part of my SGSAH-funded residency at RSPB Mersehead.
I feel it is only appropriate I begin by acknowledging the date. Tonight, the first of October is the night of the new moon and the start of a new lunar month. A lunar month, also known as a lunation, is a period of roughly twenty-nine and a half days marking the time between one new moon and the next. The reason I chose to name my work after this particular unit of time is not simply because my residency happened to coincide with a lunation like the one beginning tonight, but because of the way night here came to feature in all of the work I have made for the show.
My studio looks like Mission Control, with barely a surface not home to a computer, a monitor, or a knot of cables. The other surfaces are covered with books. Continue reading
Two thousand, five hundred and ninety-one, twenty point eight-nine gigabytes: roughly the equivalent of eighty-two rolls of film. This is the number of photographs I took in the course of my residency at Mersehead. In my work I will use maybe one tenth of that number, but almost certainly fewer – it is nearly always the case that many more photographs are taken than exhibited.
“Ae dreary, windy, winter night,
The stars shot down wi’ sklentin light,
Wi’ you, mysel’ I gat a fright.”
– Robert Burns, Address to the Deil (1785)
The first Saturday after I arrived at Mersehead, I made the short journey sixteen miles north to Dumfries: the town probably best known as the final resting place of Robert Burns. I though had not come to visit the Burns Mausoleum, nor the small sandstone house in which he lived out the final years of his life. I had come to visit the town’s camera obscura. Continue reading
When the above question was put to me last Saturday night over a particularly tricky jigsaw, I had just finished explaining to my companions that my background is not in ornithology, zoology, conservation, or indeed any of the scientific disciplines one might expect of a PhD student volunteering on an RSPB reserve, but in Fine Art. I am here, as I went on to explain, on an artist in residence placement: essentially I am here to make art.
There was one piece of work in the Big Bang Data exhibition that I did not mention in my last post: Black Shoals – Dark Matter by Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway.  More than any other piece in the show, many of which I was already familiar with from the Internet and academic texts, this is the one I was most excited, and most nervous, about seeing, ‘in the flesh’ so to speak.
Reflections on the recent Big Bang Data exhibition held at Somerset House, London.
A thought on The Revenant, note this post contains minor spoilers. Continue reading
Sitting in the darkened gallery, I spent a long time trying to discern if the back-projected image I was looking at was moving. The fact that the image of a snow-capped mountain surrounded by trees was accompanied by a field recording of wind and other sounds familiar from the outdoors seemed to suggest that it should move, as in a film. Yet, as I peered at the screen I could see no evidence of trees blowing in the wind, or of a bird flying across the sky. At one point during my visit, the screen suddenly went blank, the image reappearing a few seconds later, only, I think, lit slightly differently: the shadows shorter. Continue reading