Video. 17 sec. Near St Ives, Cornwall. October 2018
When I made this video I assumed that the flies that it features were house flies that had been feasting on a rotting animal carcass concealed somewhere within the walls of the building. The sinisterness of the insects was intended to be a feature of the video.
Since then a bit of research has informed me that the insects were in fact harmless cluster flies (pollenia rudis).
Cluster flies enter buildings on autumn evenings in search of shelter from the worsening weather conditions. Then the following day they sometimes want to get out again, as in the video.
They may enter buildings in small numbers or they may enter in thousands. In the case in the video it was many many hundreds.
The flies live in the countryside, where their larvae feeding on earthworms. They aren’t a health hazard (as far as I know).
Knowing that the flies were harmless and had entered the building seeking shelter rather than being house flies fresh from exiting a rotting corpse in the attic altered my view of them considerably, and I now rather like them, at least on the video. They are an inconvenience though.
I particularly like the way that the flies in the video are moving in an almost choreographed manner. It’s like a little piece of performance art.
The nice calm view out of the window (apart from a bit of wind) is in stark contrast to the dynamic motion of the flies on the window pane.
Plastic bags arranged on path. Unspecified contents. Video. Cornwall. June 2018
A video of an environmental art installation in the countryside that comments on the behaviour of some dog walkers. The work features an avenue of discarded dog pooh bags. The work was inspired by the experience of going on many walks in the countryside and coming across discarded black plastic dog poo bags: sometimes hidden, sometimes in full view. There’s a theory that the dog owners leave them there to be picked up on their return, however, many of them don’t do it. The work was created near St Ives, Cornwall.
Update, 2021. This work has taken on more relevance since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, as more people purchase more dogs, which in turn produce more excrement. The fact that some of the new dog owners are quite casual about their ownership responsibilities is reflected in a marked increase of discarded dog poo bags.
The image above shows a related dog poo installation in an art gallery (visualisation).
A photograph of a natural granite rock formation with a drawing of a fin-like object added to the photograph as though it is attached to the rock.
The rock formation in the photograph is on the Penwith peninsula in west Cornwall, a few miles from St Ives. The large rock on which the fin is drawn is a rocking stone, known locally as a Logan stone. The stone is said to move slightly when pushed correctly.
The image is a finished artwork, despite the fact that it resembles a concept study for a sculpture in the landscape. The drawing of the fin is deliberately inconsistent in terms of photographic realism with the rest of the image.
Having said that, I’m not ruling out the possibility of an actual sculpture.
A visualisation of a concept for a sculpture in the landscape.
The landscape in the photograph is the Penwith peninsula in west Cornwall.
The hammers are meant to project a sense of overbearing force, the fact that there are several of them possibly implying organised force (such as military force). Hammers, to me, have a certain anthropomorphic quality to them, suggesting a degree of human identity – a long thin body with a head at the top. The blank facelessness of the heads of the hammers in this image suggest a mindless power (I’ve done other works in which hammers have faces).
Wood, acrylic. Zennor Hill, Cornwall, UK. June 2018
One of my temporary sculptural works or interventions in the landscape near St Ives, Cornwall.
There’s a tendency for land art to be either very ephemeral and transient (such as Andy Goldsworthy’s work with leaves) or very permanent (such as Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty). The photo below shows my work becoming very ephemeral indeed by floating up off the ground as if defying gravity. The photo was achieved by taking several photos of the wooden batons being held in the air and then photoshopping the holder of the batons out of the picture.
Land art also has a tendency to involve circles, probably because of the circle’s links to some spiritual concepts (such as the circle of life, yin and yang, the cosmos etc). Spirals and other sinuous or organic forms are also common for similar reasons. I’ve chosen to go the other way with this work, employing very mechanical straight lines (as a comment on the common phrase “There are no straight lines in nature”) and primary colours that in nature are normally only seen in small concentrated quantities in such places as flowers and birds’ feathers.