Friday, 21 January 2011

Half way through my residency....

At the start of my residency I began to research the local myth of Cantre’r Gwaelod. I first came across this on an initial research trip, and was also told about the submerged forest at Borth that probably initiated the legend. The idea of a land lost to the sea is cross-cultural and the structure of the story is relative to the deluge myth that exists in nearly ancient culture – such as the lost city of Atlantis.

There seem to be several different versions of Cantre’r Gwaelod that exist. One of the oldest tales is of a well-maiden called Mererid, who was distracted from her duties of closing the sluice gates and thus causing the flooding of the lands, and destruction of 16 noble cities. I was drawn to this version because of it moral warning to young women everywhere – don’t neglect your duties!

My initial trip to Borth was quite awe-inspiring and frustrating at the same time. Being a Londoner it’s not often that I encounter vast stretches of sand, sky and mountains, so equipped with my wellies and a camera I set out to find the submerged forest. I kept thinking that I could see it rising out of the sea on the horizon, but alas it turned out to be a mirage! I did however find a small section, which gave me an idea of how such tales must have circulated around these ancient petrified trees.

After what seemed like hours of walking, everything started to look like the illusive submerged forest!

It’s not my intention to create a piece that is a direct illustration of the myth, but rather is suggestive, with a looped, rather than linear narrative.

My aim for this residency is to develop my basic animation skills, and to consider how best to show them. Last year I started trying to animate some of my drawings and I hope that some concentrated time here at Aber might help me to resolve some technical issues. I’m hoping to create layered animations that convey the handmade and drawn aspects within my practice. So far I have been filming and photographing myself enacting unusual domestic chores, such as cleaning the floor with my hair (as being a good maiden I wouldn’t want to neglect my duties) and then turning these into a series of drawings.

I have also been observing waves and trying to replicate them with chalk.

And also creating monotypes of sections of beach.

With a little more tweaking I hope to get all these elements working together by using Photoshop and Quicktime.

Once I feel that the looped animation is working I intend to try various presentation options. The great thing about the studios here at Aber is the versatile space. I’m hoping to create several animations and then experiment with split screen projections – to create an immersive environment for the viewer.

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