The Dyfi Project
The project uses the scientific technologies of visualizing the river through both aerial photography and LiDAR imaging. LiDAR is a system of optical remote sensing technology that works by measuring the distance to any given object or surface by hitting the target with light. Rather than use microwaves or radiowaves, LiDAR takes advantage of the known characteristics of light, scattering pulses of ultraviolet, visible or near-infrared light, at a speed of 150,000 pulses per second, from either airborne equipment or ground-based systems. By measuring the return time of the signal a complex and highly accurate map of terrain can be established. As a visualization technology LiDAR is pre-eminent in its ability to render our physical environment in highly defined 3D form.
These are then amalgamated into ambiguous images, suggesting the variance of the water flow and the intermingling of channels. The original digitally mapped archaeology of the river can become multilayered, overlayed and then excavated through the mutability of the drawing and painting process. Treated subjectively, allowing in irregularities and decisions made in terms of mark making, tonal range and relative scale, the images become maps that aim for the visual conflation of geological time.
(Video, 7 minutes)
The shearwaters recorded in this film were seen at Borth in August 2012, feeding with gannets on shoals of sand eels. The scientific name of the species, Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) replaced the original Manks Puffin, which was used in the 17th century and describes the typical shearing flight of the bird close over the waters surface. As a seabird related to the albatross it is beautifully adapted to live at sea, yet struggles on land where it returns at night to burrows underground, from which it often emits eerie contact calls. The feeding behavior of the birds, competing for resources with other species, indicates the drive for survival that all species exhibit.
Cantre’r Gwaelod Part 3:
In May of this year I walked from Ramsey Island to Bardsey Island. This is not only the boundary of the mythical flooded kingdom of Cantre’r Gwaelod, but it is also an ancient pilgrimage route, a journey of faith. The idea was this: walk along the coast path and interview anyone I met on the way while filming the walk on a head camera in an attempt to make a filmic map. My interviews were to be about climate change, but I wouldn’t formally decide a line of questioning, preferring to encounter people and engage them in conversation; more often than not this turned out to be a conversation about weather.
What I present here is just the head camera footage of the entire walk. The moments I recorded were not prescribed by rules but chance moments and moments where it seemed like the right thing to do. The walk itself also felt like the right thing to do.
British Sea Defence
If you got along to Borth when they were building the sea defense, designed to future proof this little coastal village, you would have seen the sight that inspired me to get the camera out and make this. What struck me was the rhythm of the construction and how that rhythm seemed to interact with the extant sights and sound of Borth itself. I wanted to see if I could make the two things (the diggers, the heavy earth moving work, the sea and pace of the place) one by concentrating on the rhythm alone.
The sea defense is both invader and defender. The residents seemed to have mixed feelings about the sea defense, perhaps because in order to alter their futures, in essence, they needed to change the landscape of the past.
In the entrance is a compilation of storm sounds from around the world recorded from inside buildings and other shelters. The work combines with the natural sounds outside to create a sense of entering a place of protective safety, it reflects on a sense of separation from the environment through our need for shelter.
Under Pod 09 is an invisible colony of nesting Shearwater.
“The vocalisation is an eerie 4 syllable cry that prompted legends, in the old days of lore and superstition, of the spirits of dead sailors, returning to Earth to torment the living.”
(43m 48s audio, with 3 turntables)
The work is composed from various recordings made by myself and the other artists involved. The primary sound source is a recording made at Llanina, treated in different ways within the work. One instance is created through repeated saving as MP3 and re-saving creating compression artifacts within the audio, adding rhythms and peculiarities which are enhanced by normalising, time-stretching, pitch-shifting and filtering. The corruption of the data through transfer, compression and conversion reflects the potential distortion allied to the continued updating of archival practice.
Familiar natural sounds emerge combined with fragments of vinyl records introduced by an electronic voice reading it’s database entry, while voices of the other artists discussing issues, ideas and intentions surrounding this installation create a connection to current daily activity in the area. Submerged within other sounds, they occasionally surface, displaced and out of time they could be anywhere.
Additional turntables place sounds used within the composition, and other local recordings, in discrete locations in the space allowing the visitor different listening experiences according to their position.
Rainfall in Wales
(Projection, 4 minutes)
Wales Rainfall (mm). Areal series, starting from 1910 Vs. Kendon, Elizabeth and Clark, Robin Reliability of Future Changes in Heavy Rainfall over the UK
A downpour of data, like so much rain in rural Wales. This mathematical poem has been constructed using an adaption of a Oulipo exercise. In multiples of nine, numbers (measuring rainfall in mm) have been replaced with the corresponding word from a recent climate report (predicting future weather events). When the number is, eg. 232.4, four words have been inserted. This interpolation of past figures and future predictions attempts to make sense, in the present, of an overwhelming and incomprehensible field of climate related fact and figures.
(Video, 59 seconds)
As part of an unfinished tribute to Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, this video work is composed of found footage of the 1953 Everest expedition. These are images of endeavour, and refer to complex power relations between people and place. Summit success and heroic glory were not primary concerns for Tenzing, whose testimony instead demonstrates genuine affection. Contrasting Edmund Hillary’s brutal declaration, ‘We knocked the bastard off!’ Tenzing writes,
It was such a sight as I had never seen before and would never see again: wild, wonderful and terrible. But terror was not what I felt. I loved the mountains too well for that. I loved Everest too well. At that great moment for which I had waited all my life my mountain did not seem to me a lifeless thing of rock and ice, but warm and friendly and living.
Might we, like Tenzing, neither fear nor strive to control our surrounding landscapes, and instead develop an affection for the places we inhabit?