Last blog for now as my funding from the RSA for this residency here at Timespan has finished. It’s been a valuable experience on many levels. There are many aspects of Helmsdale that invite close inspection. In my own case it has been walking along the River Helmsdale and the shore – primarily towards Portgower – and then coming back into the village down past the Clock tower Memorial accompanied by its gang of Jackdaws. My work, apart from one piece, has always been sited inside a building and has been a response to that particular building (it’s structure and space, it’s age, it’s prior purpose - see www.sierrametro.com – How long is now? for example). In an ideal world - if I was able to make a work here in Helmsdale- the space and structure (the building, as it were) would be the surrounding landscape. The room would be the walk over the Telford Bridge into the Ice House, and then along the river passing underneath the new bridge to the shore. The return would be via the Clock Tower - where our time is struck and sounded every quarter of every hour every day. The work would invite the walker to think about -to imagine – what takes place over time. The past, the present and the future are all woven together everywhere in the world, and here in Helmsdale the points at which the world can change abruptly for people and their resulting vulnerability to others’ wishes are identifiable. Such vulnerability requires extra reserves of endurance, resourcefulness, adaptability and imagination to survive – to move on. The archive within Timespan contains many examples of how people who lived here coped with those pressures – the community who live here now are witness to continuing changes – the threat to the continued existence of places like Timespan and the local library are real. Imagination is essential for everyday life, imagination does not only exist in dreams, art or stories. It is our way of making sense of the world around us. Without imagination we could not remember, we could not plan, we would not be able to understand how other beings feel – whether they existed in the past, exist now, or will exist in the future. If I am asked to come back and make such a work I hope that it will reflect these many aspects and elements that influence our daily lives.
Thank you to everyone at Timespan and Helmsdale for being so friendly and welcoming and thank you to the RSA for enabling me to research and develop ideas.