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Viewing single post of blog Ness of Brodgar Artist’s Residency 2023

I’m beginning to realise that my collection of material is extremely wide ranging and somewhat chaotic. The film that I’m making, by layering artwork and sound, will need a narrative.  Time to get working on a story board. There are two ways of looking at the ‘story’ and I hope to combine them. One is the nuts and bolts of the day to day process of archaeology, and the other involves my reflections on the nature of archaeology and the ‘why’ of the processes. On top of that is my continued investigation into the use of perceptual drawing in another discipline. A structure is needed to ensure it is not just a muddle.

It is possible for drawing to have added value over the very sophisticated technology used in archaeology. When I bear witness through a physical medium like drawing, all my senses are alive to the situation – temperature, wind, sounds, smells. The sound recordings add voices, birds, traffic and weather. I think and write best sitting outside beside the trenches.  The Art Hut is an relatively isolated pod away from the action of the dig.

So back to today’s drawings:

Reflecting on the physical effort that must have been involved in building the structures at the Ness, I decided to look for the same effort in the people digging – always on their knees in the mud.

An enlightening conversation this morning with one of the supervisors, who explained how their meticulous documentation is necessary to preserve information about the excavation – in what is essentially a destructive process. This prompted a drawing of buckets of floor deposits removed for analysis.

At the end of the day I did a drawing to celebrate the end of Trench Y, which has revealed only a few artefacts and absolutely failed to find ‘the wall’. Its greatest achievement has therefore been an absence.

Next week the ‘pirates’ move on to Trench X…