I was again honoured to be asked to work with Marshmallow Laser Feast on a large scale Muti-installation work in a cemetery in Coventry. I worked on Tides Within Us, (first shown in York Mediale) and Oceans of Air (pictured below, overview video below that)
Mapping the journey of breath from different scientific and cultural perspectives, this multisensory narrative of epic proportions uncovers the living worlds both beyond and within us, to reveal the deep and beautiful truths that lie just outside the limits of our perception. The ambitious works will be located across the beautiful, tree-filled spaces and buildings of Charterhouse Heritage Park – Joseph Paxton’s Grade I listed cemetery and its arboretum. Observations on Being has been developed by Marshmallow Laser Feast in collaboration with artists James Bulley and Natan Sinigaglia and some of the extraordinary and influential scientists, writers and musicians who have inspired and informed their work. Contributors from the science community include; pioneering medical imaging innovators Fraunhofer MEVIS (who partnered on The Tides Within Us), Hae-jin & Jacob Marshall of EMBC, Nessie Reid of the Global Environments Network (GEN), ecologist and philosopher Dr David Abram, professor of Plant Soil Processes Prof. Katie Field, the author and biologist Merlin Sheldrake and holistic scientist Dr Stephan Harding.
During the lockdown, I used my daily walks to observe the spring a little more closely, I think we all did, I just added magnification, by putting things that I found into the gates of slide projectors, leaves, blossom, flowers, feathers, grass, seeds, lichen, plastic and projecting them several feet across, you can see hidden details, cells, the velcro inspiring hooks on feathers, rather peering down through a microscope, you look up and around, and can move closer to see more detail.
The projectors I've been using are 1950's Aldis medium format projectors, that I have swapped the Tungsten Lamp for a high power LED light source, while the power draw is similar, 300W vs 275W LED, the light output is much high and with a whiter light.
Next I decided to try them outside, I was missing power, and so picked up a portable rechargeable, power pack, with mains sockets. This led to a series of experiments by the rivers in Durham, onto ancient walls, and once we were allowed, to travel, some explorations of the post industrial beaches, cleaned since the millennium, the ex-mines and factories leave fascinating scars and waste in the landscape.
These images have been calling me to make more, they are an exploration of the anthropocene, how humans change nature and our world, and how nature reclaims it.
A dual square screen video piece filmed at Hawthorn Dean in County Durham on one of my ocean plastic collections.
wonder : wander is an immersive installation about finding sanctuary in walking. The commission is in response to Gala Gallery’s biannual Open Call exhibition for artists living or working in County Durham. The work responds to Durham’s 2020 celebration of The Year of Pilgrimage and the Northern Saints by creating a contemporary sanctuary in the city. Together with participants from mental health charity RT Projects, artists Chris Plant and Alice Highet spent time walking along parts of the pilgrim ways, that end at Durham City’s sanctuary, Durham Cathedral. As they wandered, they took time to watch, listen and find moments of wonder in their surrounding, making videos and sound recordings using smart-phones; documenting their own experiences of walking the pilgrims way. From these recordings, the artists have created an atmospheric and ethereal, audio-visual installation. wonder : wander invites people to step outside the fast pace of everyday life, slow down and find their own sanctuary.
Chris Plant (b.1967 Birmingham) explores how immersive environments can affect our perceptions of time and space, triggering memories, emotions and states of mind. Mostly working with projection, light, and often involving sound, he works with both old and new technologies to form experiences beyond the everyday.
Alice Highet (b.1975, London) is Interested in time, perception and slowness. Her practice explores the space between internal and external experience. She projects moving-image and sound onto sculptural installations of varying scales; large immersive works inviting embodied experience and miniature works inviting contemplative reverie.
I was asked by fellow Brilliant fellow, Mick Stephenson, to bring some work to the Staithes Art Festival this year. He has been curating the night time light art for the past 6 festivals.
I took along Harmonic Portal, and the wands from Frequency Response reprogrammed for a cluster arrangement reminicent of a peice by Mick using glow sticks on the beach. I also took 2 modified Aldis Slide projectors with high power LED light sources, and some medium format hand painted slides, on the theme of from the Heavens to the Deep.
Geneva Lux saw Harmonic Portal at Lumeire London, and commisioned me to make some for their yearly light festival. They will now be part of the program there for the next 4 years. I found a beautiful wall to display them on, the history of which is that it is the location the French invasion of Geneva was spotted from, allowing the residents enough time to organise and fight off the threat.
These are larger than the previous portals and work from a distance, as well as a more intimate viewing.
The Wholesale Markets in Birmingham shut down in July 2018, Friction Arts documented the last year of the markets, and created a performance based on that work for a closing celebration.
I was asked to make a piece responding to my memories of the markets, I decided to celebrate the carboot sales that used to run there every Sunday morning, they were a vital resource for myself and most other artists I knew.
In 1991 I first started my life in projection by buying old slide and film projectors from the car boot sales and the Rag Market in Birmingham, without that resource of cheap redundent technology I would never have started my career, that has led onward to my working all over the world, making visual installations.
I returned to some of the methods I used when starting, hand painting slides and 16mm film, I also replaced the high wattage lamps with LED light sources, which allowed me to do things that would have been impossible because the heat of tungsten light sources, such as slowing the 16mm down to 2 or 3 frames per second.
Joining me on the journey was Darren Joyce, a long time friend and collaborator, and part of the Modified Toy Orchestra, who similarly had a strong tie to the boot sales. He created an ambient sound scape from circuit bent toys, keyboards, cassette loops and effects also sourced from carboots and repurposed.
This is a short extract of the piece, filmed before the show opened, we used an old cold store to create to create our installation.
Many thanks to Sandra and Lee of Friction arts for inviting us to get involved. http://www.frictionarts.com/