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Ardnamurchan: Work  

Simon writes...

Along with the regular sessions I did at the various youth clubs there were two main projects I worked on while in Ardnamurchan.

Invisible Places
Where are they? In your head? In the real world? Secret places, abstract worlds, indescribable emotions, unrecognisable places, places that few people ever see, places that people look at but never see, frightening places, beautiful places, ugly places, big places, small places, places you dream about, invisible places. I asked young people in three different groups in Glenuig, Kilchoan and Acharacle to video an invisible place. None of the groups knew what others were filming. Only I had an impression of the overall picture.

Ardnamurchan Zillij which was made with Katrina McPherson
The artists created a collaborative work with individuals from across Ardnamurchan building up a bank of 360 digital tiles based on looping moving images. They then built an interface that allows a user to select tiles and design a constantly moving colourful mosaic of small looping movie clips. The movieclips were created by designing, choreographing and videoing the movement of individuals in the communities of Ardnamurchan and reducing them to near abstract shapes and sounds to create the final tiles. The idea to create an interactive moving digital mosaic for the web with the people of Ardnamurchan has developed from examining Islamic tradition which relies on geometry as an outlet for expression, using 360 shapes called fourmah to create intricate patterns, ‘zillij’.

I very much enjoyed this residency, the challenges of driving 1000 miles of single track road were out weighed by the people and the location. I felt I achieved a lot in my time there not least the development in my own practice. My brakes needed replacing when I finished though.

Glenuig was a small, laid back but interested group. Because i was living in the community it allowed me to develop the relationships incrementally. My trainee Calum lived there so it allowed me access to the group of mainly teenagers which I might not have got otherwise. I was trusted to get on with what i wanted to do which was great and I got invaluable material support from individuals for the show. Acharacle was a growing very enthusiastic but young group. The support on the ground was excellent and as a result I had a great time here. Glenuig to Kilchoan youth club was a 3 hour round trip by mainly single track roads I didn't get there too often but I managed to get enough video footage from the young people to make it worth while.

"what's the point in that?" is a typical reaction to anything i do from people who have never been exposed to it before. I am never daunted by this. I saw these projects as a 3 month conversation, by the end of the project most of the younger ones still found it difficult to understand but appreciated the experience they gained.


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