Hawk eye

Verne hawk on hand22Well, that is it. I now have all the elements that will make up ‘Passage’: the scanning of the falconry hood yesterday and the filming of a hawk today, these were the last two pieces of the jigsaw. It is an exciting moment, as I am not sure how all these elements will fit together yet. There are many possibilities and a few pieces will fall beside the wayside en route, but the prospect of trying to bring this all together is what drives me now. Today it was filming a hawk flying inside the Verne using the infrared camera. If you are looking for some raptor flying locally (Dorset, that is), I can recommend Xtreme Falconry. Thanks Martin.

Inside a knot

Verne xray smThis morning was spent at the µ-VIS unit at Southampton University getting a falconry hood scanned for the Verne project. I have chosen a hood made by Kevin McMillan, ‘anglo-indian’ in style, which has four leather plumes coming out of the top and Gortex ties coming out at the sides. Amazing to see it in such detail as the x-ray slices came in and could be put together to make a 3D copy of the hood. The four plumes sticking out the top are tied together in two bulbous knots that sit just above the top of the hood proper. To be able to see inside these knots, thanks to the x-rays, and inspect in microscopic detail their structure, is truly amazing. So, now I have to start working on this to make it fit for a person to wear. Thanks Kevin for such beautiful knots and Mark for the scanning.

Perambulatory sculpture

Verne stairwell layout smHere are some initial ideas about the layout of the exhibition in the Verne. The descent from the top level to the bottom will play an important part in the experience. I see the whole thing as a perambulation: a play between film, sound, objects and architecture that shifts and changes as you move through. You start by walking over the moat via a bridge and end in the bottom of it. Caveat: this might not come off of course! At the moment this is just a sketch from the notebook. Having said that, part of my motivation for this blog is to share that process, so maybe if you come and see the final work you might have a fuller picture of what is (and what is not) on show. Well, that  is my hope.

What’s in a title?

Verne passage on gridIt is time to decide upon a title for my project at the Verne, but I am not there yet with the work. I have a clear idea of the main elements for the exhibition, but still have to work on how they come together. So, the title needs to be one that will allow me to keep working without feeling tied down by my decision: specific enough to capture the essence, open enough to not restrict. Well, it look like it is going to be ‘Passage’, and this is what it might look like at the proposed entrance to the show, although hopefully the weather will be somewhat better in September! For me the title doesn’t just exist on paper, it has to work visually in situ. I had to do a mockup of it (above) before deciding: the word ‘passage’ strapped to the wire fencing will set up a tension that I can extend throughout the show. Passage it is then.

Out of the box

Verne dry moat smThe Verne: Please, put your hands together for Gary, Nick, Heath, Luke, Giles and Joe the squash/racketball players who volunteered for the filming over the weekend. I couldn’t have picked a worse couple of days weatherwise: gale force winds, chill factor, lashing rain, not to mention unflat surfaces, impossibly small spaces; they didn’t flinch at whatever part of the Verne I asked them to ‘play’. This included, as here, sending them to run the length of the dry moat that protects two sides of the citadel (which is at the top of that cliff on the right). Together I think we truly took squash ‘out of the box’. Thanks guys for making this whole thing possible. Looking forward to seeing you in September during the b-side festival, drinks are on me!

Leaving a trace

Verne hand drag squashThe Verne: Notice the trailing hand. It leaves a warm finger-spear of heat on the wall as the squash player moves along by playing the ball against the wall. Blowing a hooley on top of the Verne today, strong enough to knock you over. You can imagine how difficult it was to play with racket and ball outside in those conditions. Things went a bit smoother once were were deep inside the old citadel, corridors, casements and other internal spaces. What a day! Another one tomorrow.Thanks for being up for trying anything….once: Gary, Nick, Heath, Luke, Joe and Giles.