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.
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.