Mid Point Review Presentation

Original Script

Comment Audio File Video(s)
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.

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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.

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Map

Footage

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.

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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.

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Net curtain material

Casting Slates Video

Slates and Net Curtain

Rusting Objects

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.

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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.

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Costume pics

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.

Boltanski explores the power of photography to transcend individual identity and to function instead as a witness to collective rituals and shared cultural memories.

https://www.guggenheim.org/arts-curriculum/topic/christian-boltanski

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:

Part of my work has been about what I call ‘small memory.’ Large memory is recorded in books and small memory is about little things: trivia, jokes. Part of my work then has been about trying to preserve ‘small memory,’ because often when someone ides, that memory disappears. Yet that ‘small memory’ is what makes people different from one another, unique. These memories are very fragile; I wanted to save them.

https://www.artspace.com/magazine/art_101/book_report/christian-boltanski-phaidon-54886

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Rachel Whiteread also speaks in an Artspace interview about the everyday.

She says

I’ve always used found objects, things made for simple, everyday usage. For instance, beds are completely international—you find mattresses up against the wall or rotting in alleyways or whatever. And with the first table piece that I made, I wanted to give the space underneath the table some sort of authority. Casting it in plaster monumentalized a space that is ignored.

https://www.artspace.com/magazine/interviews_features/book_report/rachel-whiteread-55186

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UAL First Year Symposium

Give a 5-minute presentation that discusses your most recent practice acting as an introduction to your work and research proposal for your fellow students and tutors. We recommend that you prepare an illustrated talk using images or video of your work.


Recent Practice

Key techniques used as part of my process are Collage, Printmaking, Sculpture, Photography and Video incorporating found objects into the artwork.

I consider all of my work to reflect the way I view the world we live in. My work subconsciously considers social and political issues that arise as part of the practice I have developed.

When I start a piece of work I research newsworthy events that have happened in the world, in particular from a social and political viewpoint. My artwork is often a reflective observation of these events where the general population has in some way been mistreated by an overriding power, such as the residing government/politicians of the time.

My most recent work (between 2016 and 2018) presented here has been about issues that relate to Diaspora and began after some research into a local building called Tedder House in Llandudno, North Wales, named after Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, who in World War 2 was known for his strategy the ‘Tedder Carpet’ the practice of concentrated carpet bombing in support of the Allied Forces, tactics that continue to be used in today’s modern warfare.

I began researching the Syrian war, which has been ongoing for five years and during this part of my research I became aware of the many upsetting images on the internet from the Syrian war. These images had a considerable psychological effect upon me and this then became the impetus for an installation. What affected me the most was the effects of the Syrian War on the lives or ordinary women and children living in Syria and particularly Aleppo.

Syria Video Images.png

I then began to reflect further on World War 2 and the effect of this war on the women and children in my local area and the evacuation of children from the UK cities into more rural areas – in this case from Liverpool to Caernarfon.

This next body of work explored the historical events associated with the evacuation of children from British inner cities during the Second World War. Many children were evacuated from Liverpool to towns and villages across the North Wales coast, including Caernarfon. Inspired by Hannah Hoch, the artist collected found objects from the era, reproduced photographs and propaganda materials to be used in the photo collage, A suitcase photo collage was created, brimming with memories from WW2 relating to the threat against Britain’s inner cities, the propaganda, and the experience of being evacuated from Liverpool to Caernarfon during this period. After reading many personal accounts of these events, the artist devised a collection of bi-lingual statements that appear to reflect the general sentiment felt by the evacuees, their parents and the prospective foster communities.

Evacuee

Evacuee 2

Evacuee 3

The focus of my next work was an attempt to look at the refugee crisis through the eyes of those experiencing these circumstances first hand, the refugees themselves, their experience, their treatment, the barriers and the stereotyping that they face on a daily basis.

A long-held belief that humanity, dignity and respect are basic human rights that everyone deserves irrespective of his or her circumstances, the refugee crisis highlights the lack of humanity in our society today.

Inspired by the increasing efforts of many artists to raise awareness of the refugee crisis, in particular, Ai Wei Wei and the Migration Museum, I wanted to create work that says, “Look at how these people are treated, this could be you or me”. Ultimately I ended up with an installation of blankets made from materials that could be used in a Refugee Camp for temporary shelter.

Refugee.png

My next collection of work considered being decoupled from a homeland and the experience of dispersal that a subsequent journey of migration can bring. A reflection of an individual state of being and a sense of rootlessness and longing, indicates a sub-conscious social-political element relating to the subject of Diaspora.

An outsider was symbolized using a chair covered with fragments of road maps. This juxtaposed that sense of rootedness with rootlessness and in-betweenness.  It was taken on a migratory journey between a host country and a homeland. Ultimately, being cut in two to constitute two parts and divided roots. This journey was then recorded using photography and film.

Lost.png

Reflecting on the work that I had produced between 2016 and this point (early 2018) I began to make some connections that not just reflected the issue of Diaspora but the associations of my work with historical events that continue to have relevance in our society today. I completed this two year period of reflection on Diaspora with a body of work that related to historical events that took place near to the locality that I live.

A site-specific piece about the construction of the reservoir Llyn Celyn, flooding the Tryweryn Valley and demolishing the village of Capel Celyn in the process. This piece is a continuation of an ongoing theme relating to displacement. In this case, the displacement of the village residents to provide water to Liverpool. The events that happened at the time also prompted a strong sense of Welsh Nationalism and calls for Devolution which continue to this day.

Tryweryn 3Tryweryn 2Tryweryn 1