All installations have used words set in space in some way of other. They are usually site specific, taking inspiration from and rooting in the environment and cultural traditions of the location. The process takes anything from a few weeks on site, such as at St Jean d'Angely, to several visits and planned preparations before final execution, such as at Glasgow Botanic Gardens.
The objective is, of course, a temporary but self-sufficient artwork but the role of words adds a particular dimension - not merely words as an object but containing an inner narrative, links to the soil and the culture of the people. I like to work in a manner that I describe as "discrete" - no big gestures but quiet surprises, a narrative that reveals
itself through discovery by accident, a journey that can be realised from any
point of entry - reading a message on a wall, for example, and then another
left on a table in a café, then another when you close a door. The viewer or
reader becomes a participant in something akin to a detective story, happening
around them in time and space. The scale of this can be a single room (as in
Fil d'Ecosse) or a landscape or multiple landscapes (as in Rainbow).
13 SOULS IN SEARCH OF A LIGHT SWITCH
31 August - 2 September, St Clementin, France
Soundtrack and light installation in 12th century chapel.
SHED - London, 2011, Dumfries and Galloway 2012. A stereo
sound installation and accompanying book created for a block of flats in the
East End of London.
TOUTES DIRECTIONS, St Jean d'Angely, 2009, Dumfries and
Galloway, 2011, St Clementin 2012. A film, assemblage, paintings and music
created for the Arts Festival in France in 2009 and hence shown at various
festivals.www.toutesdirections.info. In collaboration with Chrys Salt.
AU FIL D'ECOSSE, French Institute, Edinburgh 2008. Poems
written freehand on the wall of the gallery space in the French Institute in
collaboration with the artworks of Cyril Barrand.
POEMS MADE MANIFEST, Gracefield Arts Centre, 1992: 15 poems
set as installations in the Gracefield galleries. Commissioned by the Nithsdale
Burns Festival Society. In collaboration with Anne Darling.
POEMS IN THE LANDSCAPE, Nith Valley, 1992: 4 poems set in
the landscape in the Nith Valley, using various media including stone, brass,
fishing net, rope etc working with diverse community groups.
THE FLYING BANNERS, Four projects with diverse communty groups in four towns: Kirkcudbright, Gatehouse of Fleet, Dalbeattie and Castle Douglas, each making 3 large word installations in the heart of each town and making a circuit.
13 CHTHONIC VERSES, Galloway Forest Park, 1996: Painted,
stencilled words on granite.
RAINBOW, Newcastle, Galloway, Northern Ireland, Scafell
Pike, 1997. Café and internet installation, using business card poems and a web
site and temporary fixtures at named locations.
A HISTORY OF HEPS, Galloway Forest Park, 1999. An
alternative narrative for a landscape, told through 12 mini stories posted
along guided walks creating a 'parallel universe'.
STAR WOOD STONE, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, 2000. Poems in
the grounds of the gardens set out in the form of the constellation of Lyra
(the Harp) and a reading in the Kibble palace.
VERS LA MER, Pont Aven, 2004.Poems in Scots, Breton Gaelic, French and English set at 4 sites in the town of Pont-Aven, Brittany, France. A mash-up of the poems
of poet Xavier Grail into new forms and a narrative.
A ROSE BY YOUR HEART, Jardins de Rospico, 2005. 111 short
poems laid in three groups in the gardens of Rospico, Brittany, including evening
public readings with lanterns.
VOYAGE OF THE PHILOMEL, St Jean d'Angely, 2007. The voyage
of an intergalactic spacecraft searching for extra-terrestrial life represented
in verse as messages sent back from the dark regions of space to a small town
in Western France. Text messages, words in bottles, newspaper articles.