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Lost in Transition (Cryptic-Cove Park Residency)

Supported by THE SUBSTATION

In the last week we feverishly beavered away getting our pieces ready for presentation to the Cryptic team. My insistence on the immersion of solo viewing meant I set up my work in a corner of the main centre so people could experience it over the course of the day. With current resources it comprises a laptop turned to portrait, the screen covered by a sheet of two-way mirror, but imagine it’s a Victorian dressing table. As it’s really the daffodils that make the work it seems I can only present the work in various Springs around the world (or find some most fetching imitations).

Given that the dominant imagery of my piece is drawn from Greek mythology, I found the setting of Cove Park strangely apt for the creation of this work. It provided me with the all important pond and woods for Narcissus/Echo location shots and new song birds from which to make music. This use of a pastoral environment brings with it wafts of British romanticism or is it a kind of 19th century post-Romanticism — the reclamation of these Greek figures in disguise by writers such as Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. And now Oscar really wants to find his way into this piece. However the work is pretty much complete in content now, the next step requiring fabrication of the “set piece” and some detailing of the sound track and live video system.

As a quick side-project, the irrepressible and amazing Kathy Hinde and I decided to record an album of collaborative improvisation while watching the sun set over three afternoons, and we’re quietly pleased with our tinklings, scrapings and warblings. Stay tuned for more info on the release we are hoping to “drop” in July.

When it was time to leave Cove Park the heavens wept to see us go which meant a muddy get-out. The cows lined up outside our pod the night before in a guard of honour and Gareth the duck, who prefers to walk up the road between ponds, quacked a reluctant goodbye on his way past.

Back in Glasgow for the weekend I adjusted to the convenience of convenience stores, televisual images (a binge watch of Taggart on-demand), almost constant internet and flying solo — no longer part of a loose and lively collective. I managed to catch the exhibitions at CCA, GoMA, two sessions of nicely free Glitch Film Festival, and wander with half of Glasgow, in the almost too bright sun, around the beautiful Botanic Gardens, including a free ambient electronic music performance in the Kibble Palace by someone who’s name I never caught. And I put Glasgow at the top of my favourite cities — well in a tie with Ljubljana.

The time at Cove Park as part of this Cryptic residency has been wonderful. It’s been utterly inspiring and a privilege to hang out with this group of artists — Kathy Hinde, Robbie Thomson, Heather Lander, Tuwis Yasinata, Eduardo VC, Stuart Macpherson, Robert Bentall, Charlie Knox & Euan McKenzie and Josh Armstrong (along with some excellent non-Cryptic additions). I think I can honestly say that after two years of really wondering if what I’m doing is actually a way of working, I can now say I think it is. And maybe, given the vagaries of creativity, that’s the all we can ask.

Thanks enormously to: Brad & Kali at The SUBSTATION in Newport, Australia for offering me this amazing opportunity and financially supporting it: the Cryptic Team — Cathie, Caroline, Claire, Chris, Jana, Rachel; the Cove Park staff — Catrin, Julian, Alexis, Helen, Vanessa, Rita, Hamish (the dog who only barks at the postman after he’s left the building), Lorelei, Merle and Beverly (the highland cattle) and Gareth (the duck). I’m sad to say, I didn’t get around to naming the sheep. Maybe another time….

My participation in the Cryptic-Cove Park residency program is supported by The SUBSTATION.

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