This week I am in North Wales, at the Harlech Biennale 2012- I will be making a piece of work which creates a randomised international city map, over the course of several exhibitions.
The piece is made as a sort of jigsaw puzzle of white panels that will gradually be covered with viewers own map drawings, they will be asked to draw from memory the area 100m around their home. The map will then be deconstructed and reassembled in a random order as the exhibition tours around europe, each time new drawings will appear filling up the space and create a random and hopefully dysfunctional town plan.
Day1: The Place
Day 2: Down to Work
A Short Timelapse of the Weather
Some Experiments and Prototypes: these are to be the tiles of the map, they are made from compressed fibre boards usually used for flooring underlay. Each one will be cut to connect together.
It looks a bit like slate walls... maybe... almost...if it was bluer and darker
Today I made some symbols to represent the things I want to be included on the maps. Now I have done I am not sure about the piece of work, will it last for the period of time it is required, does it do what I wanted it to do- I am not sure..... I need to step away from this and think. This is the last day that I will be in Harlech, the more I look at this piece of work the less happy I am with it.
Also today visited a few sites around Harlech- this is a place rich with vistas and beauty went with Anna Francis to a place called Eglwys Ucha (Upper Church- i think) it looks out over the estuary, it was windy and a steel gate post was singing a varied low drone as the the wind blew accross the hole for the latch, a piece of sheep wool hung from the wire on the post and twitched as the air passed by a small piece of movement as a counterpoint to the stillness of the place- haunting and ethereal I filmed and recorded the sound to trap the moment.
Back at the house I looked at the timelapse films I made of the former halls of residence at the coleg, I put them together with some real time films- i recorded on the second day- time and the absence of it springs to mind, built in the 1960's the halls of residence were due to be demolished, however funding for the project disappeared. The structure is brutal- a battlement against the sea, it has a contrast of material in it's construction- concrete and slate, at the same time part of the landscape in which it sits but the lines are too straight for it to completely blend in.
I think about the time that has passed between its construction and end of use, it reflects the old castle in the town- this structure too is abandoned from its original purpose, the castle a place of refuge and a base of control of the population, the halls of residence a place to protect those of learning.
One of my early memories is fining in a draw an old slate pencil from when the slate was the medium of learning- a product that is synonymous with the country. Finding some pieces of slate on the path outside the house I go to the toilet and setup an impromptu recording studio- iPhone on my knee as I sit of the toilet seat, it is the quietest room in the house. I record the sound of my self writting on the slate- I write the dates of 1969 to 2012, first in a line then overwriting the same numbers until they become a faint indistinct blur of shapes. I add this sound to the film- I am quite happy with the result.
Back in Stoke-on-Trent- I feel a little bit out of sorts today, I am finding it difficult to understand what it was that I have made at the residency- I am definitely not happy with it I know that for sure.
Today I sat and looked over some of the video and timelapse I made, the halls of residence piece is something I am quite happy with- it reflects the timeless qualities of the harlech and the landscape, time both moves and stands still here.
I look at the footage of the howling gate post- I find the sound epic and the image equally so, somehow I managed to not get any man-made structure in the shot other than the fgate post fence and walls- a testament to the overwriting of those particular structures with more effective but equally futile gestures of controlling the landscape and the natural forces.
Today I have decided to not do the mapping piece, I have been thinking about this for quite sometime I realise, I just don't think that it works in its current form- it is something i would like to do in the future but actually I don't think this is the time for it... I am going to create another piece which has come out of the two video pieces.