My 6 month research period has finished and now the real work begins – to consider, reflect, organise and assimilate all the material I have gathered since May 2023. The experimentation and creation of the artworks now begin, spending a little less time on campus and more working on the material in my Edinburgh studio.
I have over 500 black and white analogue photographs; 2 reels of Super film; sound recordings; polaroids; Iphone photographs and video; a greenhouse full of found objects; written notes; walking routes; ideas and responses and feelings. This has given me a deep sense of the land that is the Airthrey Estate – a rich and complex landscape where the traces of its past are still present in it today.
There is a great deal of work involved processing and assimilating the photography and filming. From the B&W photographs I have selected probably around 120-150 and had little 6×4 prints made so I can begin to look at what I have and consider the way forward. A lengthy editing process lies ahead.
I continue to experiment with doubling images – juxtaposing aspects of the landscape that seem to work together but also revealing the old and the new or current landscape. Photographs of some of the ruinous buildings such as the Hermitage, Filter House, Summer House etc., together with an image of current activity on the campus, photographs of wooden pallets, soil being turned over with a spade and so on. I will be experimenting further with these images. Whilst I want to maintain the integrity of the picture, I will be exploring some simple Photoshop techniques at Stills Photography Gallery in Edinburgh. I will also be working with a film maker to explore my Super 8 films, each only 3 mins 17 secs in length, and considering how to use and combine moving image with still images to create an artwork that will be viewed on a TV screen.
I continue to walk and look at the landscape on my visits. Most recently I found this battered old teapot buried in the undergrowth in the Hermitage woods – it will be joining my other objects in the greenhouse, being gathered to create another artwork that explores the nature of an archive.
As well as actually making the artworks that will form the exhibition in the Pathfoot Building in May, we are working on the logistics of everything. Last year I discovered that fragments of the old gate piers from East Lodge were hidden away and I have selected a few that will feature in the exhibition as part of an installation work. Thanks to the brilliant Gardens and Grounds Department led by Jacqueline McKenna we shall move them next week.
Watch this space… Audrey Grant 7/2/24