Primordial at Fringe Arts Bath

Cleveland Pools, Bath 27-29 May, 3/4 June, 10/11 June

This exhibition brings together eleven artists whose work considers how humans and other species relate to water, often from an ecological and geopolitical perspective. All the work is presented digitally, with one-off performances stirring up the programme.

Annette Arlander presents a video work entitled Tide in Kan-Tiang, Amy Sharrocks is screening Swim, All Day Breakfast present a poetic soundpiece called Changing Rooms, Clare Bryden brings Green|Blue to the screen, Kayla Parker and Stuart Moore are screening Reach and On Location, Antony Lyons presents Et in Arcadia, Jenny Wylie presents soundworks linking Bath to Baden Baden, Sarah Kelly presents a video work entitled I Write at Inappropriate Times, Sally E Dean presents performance piece called In Search of Water. Melt my Heart, Numb my Hands is a performance piece by Devon Forrester Jones, and Laura Denning presents the installation Soup.

(image: Sally E Dean – In Search of Water)

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Getting Around

It’s all go go go! It was very exciting last weekend to have my work on the big screen for the first time. The Future Imperfect Symposium at the University of Plymouth was brilliantly organised and so rich and diverse. A bursting programme, and a great mix of participants.

This weekend my latest short film ‘Liquid Mimesis‘ will be screened in Boston, USA, as part of the AAG AGM, before being screened at Digital Ecologies and the Anthropocene at Bath Spa University at the end of the month. Inbetween time I get to slip off to Udine in Italy to deliver a paper at ‘Living Together on this Earth‘ – a conference about eco-sustainable narratives and environmental concerns.

After my first ever visit to the Venice Biennale in early May it will be my great pleasure to support pupils and teachers from Ysgol Glan Y Mor School in Burry Port in their final presentation as part of the Lead Creative Schools scheme (an Arts Council Wales national arts/education initiative).

A week later, Fringe Arts Bath opens, and the final selection for the show I’ve curated – Primordial Soup – will be announced any day now. At roughly the same time I shall be showing work and offering a participatory event at In Other Tongues at Schumacher College, before popping up to Leeds to take part in ‘Mediating Climate Change’ .

Shortly after that I present a paper at Sound and Environment at the University of Hull, and will hopefully meet the always amazing Leah Barclay. And as summer rolls on I take part in the Environmental Humanities Summer School at Bath Spa University, I screen work in the Immersive Theatre at the University of Plymouth as part of this years’ Balance Unbalance conference, and and and. Its all go go go!

 

 

 

 

Surge

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As the residency at Burry Port draws to a close and the Art Machina workshops at St. Peters in Exeter (for Daisi) near completion, April looks set to be free to hone the 3 bodies of work I am currently developing. The first is a short film called Liquid Mimesis and is nearly completed. The second is all about DNA and fluid relationships with aquatic species -Soup – and I am deep in the development of this. Finally, my response to the tidal culture of Burry Port, currently a collection of raw edits and rough ideas, will be worked up.

Soup is the starting point for a group exhibition curated by me for Fringe Arts Bath 17, to be hosted at Cleveland Pools again, showcasing film and sound works which respond to the aquatic theme. The submissions are rolling in, some great work is being proposed, and I can’t wait to reveal the line up later next month.

Meanwhile I am excited to be screening work at Imperfect Cinema in Plymouth University, Digital Ecologies and the Anthropocene at Bath Spa University, and Mediating Climate Change at the University of Leeds.

Oh! And I am thrilled to get a mention in Breathing Art from last years’ inclusion in the Geumgang Nature Art Biennale.

 

 

Immersion

 

It is mid-January already and iron-cold outside, but the rich and varied projects that I’m currently immersed in are warming up my world. In a couple of days I fly out to Varmdo – an island north of Stockholm – for a residential workshop on writing the undisciplined discipline. This international gathering is organised by KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment at Linkoping University (one to keep your eye on).
I return just in time to deliver the second of six two-day workshops as part of the Arts Council Wales Creative Schools Residency Programme. Working with the community of Burry Port, Carmarthenshire, I also get time to develop new work focusing on tidal cultures along this 12 mile strip of exquisite shoreline. Meanwhile, experiments in sound with young people across Devon as part of Daisi’s Art Machina continue apace.
With less than a month to go till Liquid opens at Arts Quarter Budapest, the  behind-the-scenes work of curating and presenting these 8 artists in the capitol of Hungary is keeping me busy. Meanwhile, as a selected curator for Fringe Arts Bath 2017, I am looking forward to submissions for Primordial Soup, an exhibition that will bring together artists whose work considers how humans and other species relate to water.
Two distinct bodies of work are under development at the moment, worked across different sites and in specific ways. The first  – Liquid Mimesis – is a 10 minute  split screen short film with accompanying bilingual spoken word soundtrack which presents an exchange between the mainland, an island, and the ocean. The second involves using environmental DNA (eDNA) as a starting point for work which foregrounds site, data and sensation in its analysis and treatment of how more-than-human species relate to water.
These both feed directly into my ongoing work as a Research Student in Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University. Having been an observer on the EH MA I am inspired (and a little daunted) by the rich body of critique and analysis that exists in this field. I am also deeply inspired (and not just a little daunted!) by the team of supervisors guiding me through this process. My Director of Studies Professor Owain Jones has a  long and respected publications history and has successfully headed up the AHRC project Hydrocitizens, amongst many other things. The hugely respected international artist Professor Mariele Neudecker  is my second supervisor.
Meanwhile, it is with great pleasure that I learn that my submission to In Other Tongues has been accepted. I continue to work with Richard Povall on the bi-monthly broadcast of artdotearth.fm – fusing arts and ecologies across the airwaves,  as well as presenting my own show dedicated to explorations in sound – Sonic Drawings – on Soundart Radio.

2017 has just begun…..

Pausing

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Icy mornings herald a period of reflection which is very welcome after an incredibly busy year so far. There are adventures accumulating for 2017 already but for the time being a pause within which to immerse myself in my PhD at Bath Spa University is punctuated only by involvement in Art Machina. As one of 5 selected artists I am excited to be involved in a project that  will develop young people’s digital arts practice using innovative digital media, enabling young people across Devon and Torbay to use contemporary digital creative techniques within their visual arts making.

Liquid (shown at Fringe Arts Bath in May/June 2016) becomes Folyékony and plans are underway for its iteration at Arts Quarter Budapest in the very early part of 2017. And in April I present a paper at The American Association of Geographers annual meeting in Boston, before getting ready to take part in Fringe Arts Bath 2017.

But in the meantime comes a welcome pause….

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Exhibition space at Arts Quarter Budapest

Notes towards a short play for 3 voices.

Island.Our Watery bodies serve as material media. Uisge dèanamh cinnteach gu bheil ar bith againn an-còmhnaidh a ‘fàs. Water ensures that our being is always a becoming. Tha sinn an taobh a-staigh, tha thu a ‘eile’. (We are the interior, you are the ‘other’). We combine and cooperate as a strategy for thriving.We have repurposed your mimetically capacious machine. Tha sinn ga chur anns an talamh.. We have put it in the ground. It has sprouted a community wind turbine.We are off your grid. We sail as if on invisible isthmuses between friends’ houses and the Ferry Port, sharing the bounty you bring. You stare, confess and are reborn, all within a week. Bha thu a ‘coimhead,’ g aideachadh agus tha reborn, a h-uile taobh a-staigh seachdain. I’m alright, you’re alright. It’s all fine. You don’t understand how easy your life is. Compared to mine. You are economically myopic, rurally-challenged, dis-embodied from community, but you’re alright. Your attention span is limited and you struggle to trust yourself. Do aire span cuibhrichte agus tha thu a ‘strì gus earbsa fhèin. Our (living, breathing) Hive Mind requires that you overcome these shortcomings.Listen to some Reidio Saor Innse Gall, it will lighten your spirits.

OceanWe are all bodies of Water, in the constitutional, the genealogical and the geographical sense. Ecriture lavasse, a liquid mimesis. I would corrupt your mimetically capacious machines with low salt and dark sand and deep time. I would keep it in the ground. I could kill you. You kill me. So I’m going to swallow you up. Time and tide remain impatient. Look to my bed where the bones of your histories are colonised by my chromosomes. Our simultaneities. Your Story So Far. Hebrides: 8, veering, becoming moderate. High, very high, imminent, soon, later.

MainlandNeither essentialist, nor purely discursive, this watery feminism is critically materialist. With my mimetically capacious machines. I imagine myself as your dystopia. I project onto you my guilt and trauma, as though you are open access, like the cloud but Luddite in outlook. You become the ground for my ‘other’ stories. How do Become like you? How do I become non-modern, like you? Mar-aon sgeulachdan ruige seo, but not the same stories, and just a little bit out of step. Your reception comes and goes. I imagine your deep interior and bear witness to my own embodied otherness. I snatch lexicons from endangered species and litter them between made up words and a little bit of name-dropping. I catch the World at One but you embody the World at One With Itself.

(These notes constitute work in progress for a possible chapter in the forthcoming book Visual Culture and The Northern  British Archipelago. They are inspired by my recent (and many previous) visits to the Outer Hebrides.  Sentences in italic are from the essay Hydrofeminism by Astrida Neimanis. A short film is under construction and the stills shown here were taken on my most recent trip to Barra.

 

 

The Perfect Week

It started with an email on Bank Holiday monday – Professor Kate Rigby confirming I have been awarded a Research Studentship in Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University. This will be a practice-based PhD in conjunction with Contemporary Arts Practice.

My primary supervisor, Professor Owain Jones, contacted me on the tuesday to invite me to collaborate with him on an essay regarding located subjectivity and islands, to form part of an anthology of essays on subjects relating to visual culture and the northern British archipelago. I then spent the evening with 3 outrageously inspiring women from the village who are cooking up a community project that will see pop-up kitchens, potluck suppers and family cookery classes rolled out across 2017.

On wednesday I finally got to run the much anticipated photography workshops with homeless people from George House, using Union Corner as our base and Millbay as our subject. More than anything we did a lot of laughing! It was unforgettable. Plymouth Art Weekender here we come. I was also able to remotely collaborate with Professor Alan Boldon from the University of Brighton as he made brilliant suggestions by email about how to show my work currently forming part of the DRHA conference Place, Ecology and the Digital at Brighton University.

On thursday I found myself in an awkward photoshoot with my MP Dr. Sarah Wollaston. Having been part of the team that put our Parish Plan together over the last few months, it was launched at a public meeting she was holding in the village. I wasn’t expecting to be photographed (and I didn’t vote for her). However, it was another unforgettable experience. I was also able to finally submit my blog entry to accompany the screening of 2 of my pieces being included in the Special Video Exhibition section of Breathing Art in the 7th Geumgang Nature Art  in Korea, along with 73 other artists from all around the world.

And on friday , for the first time, I attended the luscious lunch that Artdotearth organise every first friday of the month at Space at Dartington. It was great to catch up with people I knew and to meet artists I hadn’t met before, and it was truly inspiring to hear Katrina Brown and Rachael Allain talk about their work.

Today I’m mostly eagerly anticipating my Hebridean holiday in 8 days time – I shall be on Barra for my birthday, snorkelling with seals. Oh! And I’ve been sent the catalogue and website details of the Cambridge based exhibition that I’m taking part in throughout October – Art Language Location. Tomorrow I’m having a lie-in. Honest.

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George House Workshop

Lucky it’s raining so hard today! Following last weeks photography project with residents of George House – the charity and hostel for the homeless between The Red House and Karst in Plymouth I have 350 images to work through.  Two groups spent a couple of hours each down at Millbay, with me, some digital cameras and a dog called Pip. We talked and laughed – which Princess yacht would we prefer? What memories of Drake Island did we have? Which watery reflection was the most eye-catching? During the afternoon session we watched the massive Brittany Ferry leave port. Next week I shall take my selection back to share with them and together we will edit down so that the ones we exhibit for Plymouth Art Weekender best represent the people who took part. Here is one image I took that day.

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