In Summer 2017 I collaborated with moving image and sound artist Jo Millett, with help from sound artist Rob Gawthrop and the support of local people, to create the installation 'Confusing Shadow with Substance'.
"Our approach considers the sea as neither inert substance, nor neutral space, and examines the close relationship between land and sea particular to the locality".
Investigating the traces - tangible and intangible - of a once thriving fishing station at Stenness, Northmavine, Shetland, where hundreds of men worked and lived for the summer months in the 18th and 19th centuries,
Confusing shadow with substance examines the relationship between past and present and the interplay of land, sea and human activity at the site of one of Shetland’s busiest former fishing stations. The material remains of the Stenness station are elusive today, yet the more we explore the landscape, the more its traces are revealed.
Poised between land and far haaf, the shoreline draws us to the sea, a constant presence in a world of embedded memory. Weaving together contemporary and historical images, Shetland voices merge with the sea, drawing breath with the tide. Our work is concerned with the interplay between that which is gone, that which remains and that which drifts between the two.
The resulting three screen video and sound installation, looping continuously with images and sounds, navigates between distance and nearness, permanence and transience.
The installation was shown during the summer 2017 at Shetland Museum in Da Gadderi, Lerwick. We are currently planning a tour of the work in Scotland and outlying areas across Shetland, subject to securing funding.
(Confusing shadow with substance’ is a phrase used by local fisherman Davey Smith, describing the process of direction-finding and use of local landmarks called ‘meids’ to aid navigation).
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