Danger in the jungle – Durham

An opportunity to present my research project into instagram and its uses in education.QEHS instagram feed at the invitation of NSEAD, the National Society for Educators in Art and Design at their annual conference in Durham.  The main invitation came from Neaten – The North East Art Teachers Network, who were presenting a pre conference programme on Friday night before the main event on Saturday.

Sadly I could not attend due to a clash with our School Exhibition opening and Arts Award Night so I sent a film of me presenting the talk, a bizarre thing to create as it meant speaking with no audience to make the recording:

I was also not able to gather any feedback, although pleased to see some comments on the NSEAD Facebook pages.

‘things left behind’ – the sea in a box

Today I hand in my box to Judy Thomas to send to Japan.  I have perhaps wandered off task and created something unexhibitable.

At the bottom of the box – a mirror

The box contains something(s) collected from the beach, A memory – in the form of the poem below and an artwork – a series of printed transparencies, which might work together or might be separate items.  They record the presence on the beach of the items collected but also their existence as transparent, see through memories, already only leaving a trace.  They are not very aesthetic, don’t really relate beyond my act of collection, but can still be triggers for my memory, which through the words and images could be communicated to others or trigger memories in them.

The first transparent insert – abandoned trainers


things left on beaches

are warp and weft


time weaves people in fabrics and spaces


a pair of trainers

worn and punished


he swam out with the current and back with the wind



a half tennis ball

batted and dog torn


rain stopped play and tide took his wicket



frayed rope end

severed in a storm


boat lost the mooring and beached in the creek



hard plastic mesh

from a shattered creel


under the deck the eel lay dying


The layers together and held against the light.

Fogged Films

The trip to the border yesterday, with the large format camera, produces little film work due to fogged or damaged film – lots gone wrong but what? A few have a ‘feel’ about them when scanned, but not a work of genius……need some technical support, to make sure I am being properly accurate.

as negatives:

rubbish negatives


This image usable? but tiny depth of field.


The above image taken on the lane that IS the English Scottish border……

On the Border at Berwick

Just north of Berwick is another lay-by for people to stop to rest or record their crossing.  This time the flags dominate.  The ‘Scottish side’ had fine flags:

Border Berwick -021

Spent time trying to capture them with a perfect furl, in shadow and light:

and their location with the view across to the english flags:

Border Berwick -001Border Berwick -039

and then the ‘English side’:

Border Berwick -120

The English flags, including one from Northumberland were tattered and twisted.

Border Berwick -087

I also shot some video which may become something later. I also shot on the large format camera which mirrored some of the video and stills shots.

Illuminating the Border – Critique

Yesterday we talked through the ‘illuminating the border’ installation as part of a group critique.

The first interesting note was how  people moved through the space. As we were a group of 10 or more, this put the installation under pressure.  Could people experience anything with so many interruptions.  It was great to see that people moved with relative ease and it created a thoughtful atmosphere.


The effect of shadow and reflection as backdrop and point of interest in its own right was interesting, The installation was added to by the interruption – this may be a really important point for development.  If I want the installation to be truly interactive, then it must ‘work’ better if people are in it.

There were those who were reluctant to enter. Noise was an issue – sound levels have to be right.  I thought of the idea of a warm whisper with louder interventions as a way of thinking about how the sound can attract people.



One colleague remarked the mirrors, he thought they worked much better with the installation, particularly in the interaction with the projection – where the stretched and distorted image broke across the mirror, which then reflected another part of the installation, really caught the eye. This, of course, was always changing, leading to viewers moving their heads to see themselves in the film landscapes, and seeing those landscapes change.


The smaller square mirrors, placed on the fabric and in direct line of the projection also changed the projection.  The square mirror helped, because it fitted the square nature of the projection, like a collaged image within the projection – this effect was emphasised when the projection against the muslin and gauze caused the images to repeat and overlap making a displaced image collage.




Borderlights – a guide

I felt that a guide was needed to the installation trial I was setting up.  I wanted to be able to give an idea to people how to enter and travel through the space. I wanted the instructions to encourage interaction and the use of mobile phones.  The tone of the writing is intended to link to the content as well.  The black and white high contrast is important.

Illuminating the border