This year, I have begun writing as well as drawing, bearing witness to the activity on site. So from now on, alongside drawings and paintings, I will be posting written observations rather than journal entries.
Wind and rain. Have to lean into the wind and have my back to it so the rain doesn’t hit the notebook. Archaeology continues. Diggers are made anonymous by their hoods. Nearly all have their backs to the weather. They are marginally more sheltered, being lower in the trench.
From the foreground to the horizon: piles of stones, a row of diggers, wheelbarrows and kit, mound of spoil, loch with water racing and breaking small white topped waves, Stones of Stenness, cars and coaches on the causeway and Stenness car park. The buildings beyond forming a first horizon, with the hills rising as a faint shape merging seamlessly into grey cloud.
My feet are numb. I need thicker socks. They have had three weeks of sun before I arrived. Did I bring the bad weather with me? The rain has stopped but the wind continues. It’s lunchtime. Maybe it will be possible to draw this afternoon.
Small triangle incised in a flat stone. Another triangle tip to tip making a butterfly. The second triangle mostly concealed under another stone. The significant marks in a position to suggest that its existence was more important than its visibility. So this affirms that something visual is not necessarily meant to be seen. It will now be meticulously cleaned, protected and recorded. Presumably it will eventually become an exhibit, where its visual-ness will take precedence over its original placement.
It may have seemed a little quiet on this blog – but there is lots of post residency work in progress.
The first 8 minutes of a film is available on Vimeo here. I’m trying to make it about the experience of being on site – rather than a documentary. So it begins close in with hands digging, then travels through voices and drawings across the site.
Sometimes the ‘scenes’ are linked with an assembled ‘key image’.
I have also been writing the first article for publication. When it goes public I will post a link.
Meanwhile – back to the studio
The lack of blog for the last few weeks has been due to intense activity preparing for the first exhibitions of the project at 44AD, Bath.
For the month of November, I am featured artist with a display of pictures in the stairwell. There are 51 small facsimile digital prints from the sketchbooks and watercolours, plus a few film stills.
The slow progress of making a film of drawings with sound has been mentioned in this blog in previous posts. This week I installed the first 8 minutes of the film, with an accompanying wall drawing and found objects relating to the dig. The show will continue until Saturday and comments so far have been very positive.
The film to date is a taster of a longer film to be shown in Orkney next year. Although there is a lot more to come, it was important to show work in progress so that talks and discussion about my research could take place. I am interested in debating whether perceptual art can contribute to research in archaeology and history. Last week I showed the project to art students at City of Bath College. This Saturday I will be doing the second of my talks to the general public at 44AD. Further presentations are planned with local archaeological societies and other groups.
This week I have managed to make three and a half minutes of film. Some technical problems due to confusion over pixel aspect ratio have delayed further achievement – but things are moving along now. Here are a few stills from the work to date:
Comments from friends have been favourable so far.