I am very excited that my film ‘Earth to Earth‘ is going to be shown at an outdoor event in the centre of Buenos Aires on the 17th of May. Alongside story-telling and poetry, video art will be shown on huge LED screens ordinarily used for advertising. The aim is to create a contemplative mood on the widest avenue in the world. It will be quite a juxtaposition to have my film, which is so much about nature and the wild shown in such an urban setting. The organisers and I hope that this will have be very effective. I also like the idea that the Welsh landscape is going to be shown in the capitol of Argentina with its historic and linguistic connections to Wales. For those of you who can speak Spanish have a look at this…
This is the final section of my Earth to Earth film capturing the aurora borealis.
24th October 2011.
Location: Carn Treliwyd, Pembrokeshire, Wales – 51° 54 N 5° 16 W
Aspect: Looking North East towards Strumble Head along the North Pembrokeshire coast.
Here is a preview of the time lapse film I have been making to document my Land Art project Earth to Earth. Full version coming soon…
Seven days of waiting and watching every change in the weather and this is what I found on Sunday morning. 20,000 images and the disintegration of the Jar happened in the dead of night, unable to be seen by the camera. The footage is amazing but what an anticlimax to have missed the defining moment of the process. I will try again.
What makes ceramics unique as an art form is the transformative process of firing. You make the work and then give it to the fire and hope that during its metamorphosis something beyond your expectation emerges. It is a natural process. No two trees grow the same and no two pots emerge the same. I take clay from the earth, process it, humanise it and form it. I then give it back to the elements, to fire. This naturalises it again giving it its own individual character, something uncontrolled by me.
Placing your work in a kiln, relinquishing control of its final aesthetic takes a certain mind set, patience and a certain amount of faith. Placing a jar on a hill to weather away is a similar process. I am still committing the jar to the elements, air and water instead of fire and there is still a transformation.
For the past two months I have been working on the Earth to Earth project. This is part of my Arts Council of Wales research grant. This time I decided to document the weathering of the Jar using Time Lapse Photography. At first I thought this would be straight forward but the more I thought about it the more involved the project became. Firstly I needed a way to house the camera that was weather proof. I ended up modifying an electrical junction box. I knew from the experience of past attempts that the Jar would last anything from a few days to two weeks so I needed to power the camera for a long period. I used a 12v battery and a DC to DC power converter. Just getting this far took a lot of research and technical knowledge for which I am very grateful to Colin Gregory.
The Jar will be photographed day and night every 33 seconds until it has weathered away. Each shot will become a single frame in a film with 25 frames per second. The camera will take 109 pictures and hour which will translate to just over 4 seconds of film. For this I had to work out all the best camera settings, the interval between shots, the aperture, the shutter speed, the ISO and so on. More technical research and long conversations with my brother Greg. As a teenager I had a manual SLR camera and that foundation in understanding cameras really paid off.
Last week I did a trial run, at first I thought it wouldn’t be, but I soon realised despite all my research I still had a lot to get right. The results however from the trial are very encouraging and exciting. The changing weather, the stars at night, moon light, sun rise, rain all captured on camera.
This project has been a journey in its self and I have been contemplating for a long time how best to illustrate it. I am hopeful that this will be an interesting depiction. I have never exhibited this project in any capacity and just recently I have had interest in it from a number of places. Most excitingly I have been asked to be part of a major exhibition at Ruthin Craft Centre in January and they are particularly interested in exhibiting this piece. Lets hope it goes well.
Little had changed the next morning, the last remaining structure barely visible amongst the heap. The sea was sublime.
By nine o’clock at night this is all that was left of my Moon Jar. The wind and rain had in a single day reduced the pot to little more than a pile of soggy shards. The foot ring of the Jar was the all that remained. Up there the weather was really wild, standing trying to take pictures it was not so surprising that the Jar weathered away so quickly.
The anticipation to see what effect the first rain had had on the unfired clay was motivating as I climbed the hill. From afar it was still in its entirety, a sphere against the laden sky.
The Jar was wet through on one side, the side that had taken the weather. Drops of rain had eaten there way into the surface making it rough and small cracks have started to appear. I think some persistent rain will cause the pot to collapse.