The exhibition is up! After 10 weeks of work, with a constant month of 12- 14 hours days at the end, it is done. I am delighted with the result and with the project overall. It is the fastest project of this size that I have undertaken in such a short time. My only regret is that I didn’t get to make more postings here, so it is my intention to continue, both the blog postings and with the project. The show is on until the 20th October for those who are in the region and would like to see it in the flesh head to The Glass Factory. For those unable to visit, I’ll continue to post images here.
The show comprises maps, drawings, black and white silver gelatin photographs, digital colour photographs, installation pieces, glass sculpture and photograms. As such it is multi-faceted and I will deal with each element in separate postings over the next few weeks. To begin with, I will deal with the maps and drawings.
The first thing I did on the residency was to make a map of Boda. My intention wasn’t to make an aesthetic piece, but to facilitate the process of place learning, of finding a way of orientating myself in the landscape and to identify my study sites, the abandoned buildings of Boda. Rather than drawing from existing maps of the area, I decided to use satellite images from the internet to map Boda by projecting onto permatrace (the drafting paper used by archaeologists) and to trace roads, buildings and other salient features. Then, every time I made a field trip, I would draw my walk on the map, making my lines of travel visible and when I repeated journeys, these lines got progressively darker. Each journey was numbered and dated.
Through this process, I was able to quickly position myself in the landscape and identify buildings that looked abandoned (marked in red on the map). This was supplemented by local knowledge. Despite seeing buildings that looked abandoned I needed to confirm that they were before carrying out my investigations. This was initially done through consultation with the staff of The Glass Factory and went on to include local people as well as the project developed. Efforts were made on my behalf by Rigmoor at The Glass Factory into identifying and contacting the owners to gain permissions to go ahead with the project. Many thanks to Rigmoor for doing this, and for providing me with additional local knowledge that proved indispensable!
The second drawing element in the project takes the form of field notes. Each site had a sheet of permatrace mounted on a planning board that I borrowed from Rubicon Heritage here in Cork (A thank you to Bruce Sutton for the loan). I took the board to site on each visit and added my thoughts and perceptions as well as using the board to both sketch a plan of the site’s features such as the location of buildings and other features (at the top of the image above) and to draw a perspective drawing of part of the site. In this case, I also incorporated colour by rubbing plants from the site onto the drawing. The work is a photograph, printed larger than the original board, roughly double the size of the original and edited. The text is deliberately cropped, making it’s narrative impossible to decipher entirely. I knew that many of those seeing the works would not understand English, so the text would largely remain obscure. By cropping it I intended to allude to this linguistic component, the text becoming incomplete traces of thoughts. Language impacted other aspects of the project and I intend to delve deeper into this in future research. My lack of knowledge of Swedish was something that was both an advantage and a disadvantage. The positive side to this was that I tended to focus on material evidence on-site, rather than what could have been researched had I spoken Swedish. It meant that I wasn’t delving into the lives of those that had occupied the site, they remained anonymous. As some of them are probably living today, this avoided an invasion of privacy, something I was often aware of was the sensitivity of what I was investigating in these domestic spaces and I was keen to keep away from prying into peoples private lives.
The final drawing piece was a scale drawing of the burnt barn that I mentioned in Boda blog 5. I spent many nights in the studio meticulously drawing this piece. In the end, I managed to retrieve some of the artefacts from the site and incorporate them in the installation pieces, so it is possible to find the objects depicted where they were situated in the drawing in the gallery space.