A ram born without any horns, that one of the volunteers rather sweetly named Macbeth and who I visualised in a recent image wearing prosthetic horns; has vanished from his familiar field.
The name Macbeth seemed to suit the curious creature, who seemed dumb and gentle and had no fight in him, with no interest in the other sheep, appearing quite impotent despite packing a sizeable lunch box!
What greater symbol of potency could one create than to give a ram back his horns, his personal symbol of masculine power?
I am currently creating a prosthetic set of horns for the creature using a pair left discarded, and an old belt. The visualisation I added to the photos here looks extremely sexually aggressive, possibly even a bit bondage. Thus I am going for something quite simple in the real, with the chance that they will simply droop to one-side, or impotently drag along the ground. But Macbeth is missing! Thus I intend to search the island with my prosthetic horns slung across my chest, find the beast and crown him in ritual, re-imbuing him with all of his lost power!
There is only a week left now of this island residency, and I am feeling a sense of the draw-strings pulling closed. The interviews have all been incredibly revealing, allowing light onto a delicate set of debates into tourism, labelling, development and change to everyday life. Even the Kids during the pub-mumming play that I did with them this week had lots to say about labelling and new buildings.
But it is identity and an annoyance at being “anthropologized” by so many visiting researchers that has been the main themes raised by anyone in random conversation. And the latter certainly seems to be the reason that more than half the islanders never came forward to speak to me, or could not be coaxed into talking about the island as a whole. Perhaps it is a West Island attitude; but people have been unwilling to talk in a way that they might be seen to represent more than themselves, and sometimes even just to have an opinion “captured” irreversibly that they might be presented as thinking to others. I suppose small communities everywhere survive by being so withdrawn about how they really feel about their community, because of the risk of offending people that you are crammed so close together with. It’s a shame because I was not interviewing to make judgements, but to make artworks that were relevant to and actively engaged residents. I could only do that by asking their opinions, and it is interesting how often even that was denied. I am looking forward to creating the guide, it should be an altogether different way of looking at this place, it could be a very welcome breath of fresh air.