|When I was about eight, my mum took me to a local reservoir where a village had been destroyed and the community moved on.||22||Previous Tryweryn Work|
|This memory that has stuck with me for over 40 years and has prompted me to consider these events further for my latest body of work.||23|
|Before I started this course I reflected on the construction of the Reservoir and the effects on the displaced community of the time and the domesticity of the situation.||25|
|I became aware that in fact Tryweryn was not an isolated case and in fact many reservoirs now exist where communities previously thrived.||26|
|In the intervening years, the community of people with direct experience of these events is diminishing and memories of these events are becoming faded over time.||28|
|It took me some time to realise that in fact there are a lot of metaphors in this work, most specifically these communities and their experience being a metaphor for loss of collective memory but also personal memory too. I now realise that although on the surface this is a project about a specific set of events external to me, in fact using these events metaphorically is reflecting on my own personal feelings of displacement and loss of memory that have been with me throughout my life.
Something that on the surface appears very impersonal in actual fact deeply personal.
|I decided to visit four such reservoirs and begin to get a sense of the areas and record some photography and video footage. Interestingly 2018 has been the first year since 1996 that the water levels have dropped so low that evidence of these villages was apparent and I was able to walk on the reservoir bed which normally would have been covered with many metres of water.
This also provided me with the opportunity to reflect further on the villages and to be able to collect some fragments/remains of village life. Mostly ceramics but also some metalworks from the actual buildings which had been made inhabitable but not removed.
Photographs of fragments and slates
|At this time I also discovered that in fact there had been much deforestation and discovered the remains of the deforested trees along the shores, particularly at Thruscross.
To me these deforested trees became a clear metaphor for these lost communities and memories cut off in their prime as part of the construction process, yet having survived under the water for so long demonstrating that the memory of these events will live on.
|Shots of Wildling|
|For the pop up show I wanted to begin to work with some of the footage I had created and was aiming to create something that had the essence of nostalgia.
I wanted to overlay archive material with footage that I had shot during my site visits.
|37||Nostalgia video (show brief clips)
Fragments video (show brief clips)
|I am interested in the ordinary and the commonplace that might have some wider significance or meaning, I always strive to use my artwork to communicate how the subject makes me feel using the most appropriate materials.
Having collected many fragments during the site visits, I knew I needed to find the best ways to represent the everyday that had been lost during these events.
In this case, I had several ideas, firstly I knew I wanted to reintroduce fabric and stitch into my practice and felt that net curtains prevalent at the time of these events would meld my own personal memory into the collective.
I decided to have some photos from my earlier video printed onto lightweight fabric.
|Net curtain material
Casting Slates Video
Slates and Net Curtain
Latex Experiments ( sketchbook cover)
Latex Experiments Single Items
|I also knew that I wanted to create something that reflected the spaces left after I had prised the fragments from the reservoir bed and I decided that perhaps using Latex with the fragmented objects I had find might be a way to achieve this. I didn’t want to cast the objects themselves per say, just an impression the spaces where they had resided.
As part of this experimentation, I cast slates, individual fragments, prints (distortion)
Happy Accidents – it pleased me no end to find that when removed the latex had bits of rust or slates creating a preserved lasting impression of the items that I had casted and the blurred memories that they invoke providing a metaphor for what existed before.
|Latex Experiments – casting space|
|Since my site visits the images of the deforested trees have stuck in my mind and I have decided to create a costume as a reflection of these with a view to using the costume in a performance piece.
This is most definitely unfinished and work in progress but I have ideas to record a performance on site and also using a green screen.
The costume has been made from cotton wool wrapped in kitchen paper and wire and then wrapped in gorilla tape. Finally I intend to cover it in latex to make the costume more sturdy and long lasting.
|I find some similarities in Christian Boltanski’s work.
The humanness in some of his work representing the unique lives of everyday people, whom we will probably never know reminds me of something that sits very firmly in my mind that these difficult experiences could happen at any time to any one of us.
I later discovered that indeed Christian Boltanksi had worked with net fabric in a similar manner to that which I intended.
|I have been looking at the work of Christian Boltanksi and what I perceive as the humanness in some of his work representing the unique lives of everyday people that we will never know in person yet have many similarities in their lives, experiences and memories.
In an interview on Artspace he says:
|Rachel Whiteread also speaks in an Artspace interview about the everyday.