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Art for the End

I've just completed the first part of a three-venue residency I was awarded last year from the Royal Scottish Academy Residencies for Scotland Bursary. I'm back at my Edinburgh-based studio after two glorious weeks at North Lands Creative Glass in Lybster, Caithness, the first venue. The next residencies are at Hospitalfield Arts, in Arbroath and Stills, in Edinburgh. Much of my practice is making installations and interactive performances to which people can bring deep parts of themselves privately to a group aesthetic outcome, or making transformative performances and environments.  We are all going to transform in the same way at the end of life. These three residencies afford a period of research, experimentation and development of an inter-disciplinary body of work exploring pre and post-mortem liminality. We are deeply invested emotionally and often financially in the memorialization of our dead and toil to make the place and circumstance of memorialization beautiful, dignified and meaningful for ourselves, and the memory of our loved ones. Less effort is spent on the place of dying. What kind of sensory environment might be compelling as a place to die?  These residencies are a period of experimentation and development of a series of passing places: sound, film, performance, and installation works based on the physical, social, and metaphysical events of death. Some of these will be completely conceptual and captured in film, some will be installations, and some will be able to roll into a home, hospice or hospital room. We are probably not going to be able to control the physical circumstances of our death. But I think, if you think about it, deeply, that process of thinking about it will enable you to have a better death mentally. Sound is an important part of my practice and at North Lands, I made huge flameworked glass icicle/chimes, much larger than I can make in my own studio. These will become part of several installations that are part of the larger project of passing places. These large icicles form part of a huge glass instrument, which will be installed on the boat the Isabella Fortuna (currently in Wick) and will use the sea as sound activator. The Isabella Fortuna was built in Arbroath, where Hospitalfield Arts is located, the second venue of this award. The chimes will be part of a room size installation of several thousand chimes to be played by the public and the heat generated by large candles in Germany.


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