From the 16-19 September the artists of the Scottish Borders-based Moving Image makers Collective (MIMC) lived in and engaged with the forests around Ruberslaw, between the small villages of Bedrule and Denholm. We had screenings at the old glasshouse down below and installations along the forest paths and in the depths of the woods. I won't go into the details of all the works because a comprehensive publication is in progress but I thought to write a few words about my own contribution. I've already written about my short film The Sigh here so here are two texts I prepared as part of our initial project documentation. The installation ran for two hours on the Friday and Saturday evenings, just as darkness fell. I made a short film of my installation on the rainy Saturday night. Here's the link (password: owl). Flies were attracted to the light of my projection and began copulating on the back wall. Then the spiders arrived for their evening meal..
The Form of the Work
The site of the installation was The Owl House, a small rustic wooden pavilion in the forest, open at the front with a two-seater bench inside. Lit candles were placed inside eight cut glass demijohns to light the path and front of the Owl House as well as marking the boundaries of the installation space. Mirrors behind the bowls reflected the forest. On the first of the two nights colour excerpts from the film 'The Sigh' were back-projected on to small metre-square opal perspex panel placed by the foot of a tree. On the second night this moving image component was projected on to the inside wall of The Owl House. The space was sonified (gently) using two hand-made 20-string bowed psalteries activated by electronic bows (ebows) placed inside the pavilion. Four portable radios on static reception were set in the surrounding forest.
The work before you is anthropological in nature. It’s a study in what makes us human, even in its uncertain attempt at bridging the gap between forests and humans. Forests which predate our species by millennia, the womb from which we issued, its riches which nurtured us on our way to inhabiting the plains.
What have I brought to the forest in my role as conversationalist? Representations of our civilisation, its artefacts and technologies. Sounding, even musical devices. Projected imagery. Light. These set the tone of the conversation.
You are invited to enter the space and begin your own conversation, be it a silent thoughtful moment, a vote of thanks, a votive offering, an apology, a confession.