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Zooming in on plastic strapping threaded together to form #LitterCUBE                                 J Barton

My ongoing musings on our entanglement with plastic pollution and its interconnectedness  with the sustainability of our environment both here in Scotland and globally was greatly aided by visitng the  most recent An Talla Solais exhibition Murmur an exhibition of 5 women artists  reflecting on Climate Change .

Both the exhibition and a gallery talk by  John McIntyre (scientist) illustrated  the linkage between our actions and changes in world ecology.  John used this diagram called a  ‘Muir Web‘ drawn by Landscape ecologist  Chris Harrison as a visualization of habitat relationships and ecological associations of the Manhattan island, circa 1609.

muir web jpg

John Muir:  “When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.”

Our inter-connectedness and responsibility to the environment, our species and each other was further wonderfully delivered that evening in a film of the American  philosopher/artist Donna Haraway entitled ‘Story Telling for Earthly Survival’  by film-maker Fabrizio Terranova.  Donna animatedly tells  anecdotes of her dogs prowess at complex agility courses, adding another layer to her own visual analogy of  our ecological and social mesh being as a ‘Cats Cradle’

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As I begin to select elements of the NEO Terra exhibition to take to Holyrood  in December to share with MSP’s and Ministers I am convinced of the importance of taking the #LitterCUBES particularly this one made from strapping  to help with imagining the depth and complexity of the issue that we are all enmeshed in.

COPcube2 - J BartonMy intention is to engage as many people as possible in the seeing of  the ecological web/mesh we hold in our hands.  To do this I am working up an idea to tour the       #LitterCUBES ( in much bigger forms) to harbours and festivals around the coast.

Please leave any suggestions  below of possible locations,  where you can see this working and ways to help raise funding to make this happen .  Thank you

 

HOPE 2017

I am very happy to be back based in Ullapool and to begin collecting beach samples from along the  Wester Ross coastline..rhue-beach-jan-17 Rhue Beach – todays collection location

Over the next month I will be collecting  samples ffrom 60 beaches for examination in the NEO Terra  exhibition taking place at An Talla Solais‘s Caledonian Gallery May 13th -June 18th.   I intend involving as many people as possible in the collection and will be encouraging discussions as to how to build  HOPE for the future. Shared ideas will be added to those collected and sketched out from Shetland residents on HOPE isle  below…..  hope-isle-3_li Please add your own ideas  into the comments box below of ‘how we can stop plastic leaking into the environment and  improve environmental sustainability’ I will add them  to the isle of HOPE.  My own HOPE is based  on the support and feedback I have received to the  Littoral Art Projects 2016 ‘s achievements recorded below :

         Littoral Art Project LEGEND 2016

                               Featured Image -- 3554  nt-beach-samples-cu nt-beach-sample-results                 Exhibition: NEO Terra, Shetland Museum      Oct-Nov

                     img_3940 commando-lands terra-nova-end-statement                        Animation: Terra NOVA,  Shetland Museum     Oct-Nov

               scalloway-evidence-bags  magnifying-voxter  whalsay-micro-plastics                                 Education Workshops: across Shetland            May-June

                             COPcube2  cairn  img_0912                                            Presentation: Edinburgh Humanities Network – Deep Time    April

                           29th MArch IM collecting PR's plastic rock reveal copy  PR's section 2                   Expedition: to Isle Martin        March

                 Studio 4 Studio 4 TS Studio 4 postit                               Residency: at An Talla Solais developing animation storyboard

             CS logo 1 copy                                    Awarded  Creative Scotland -Open Project Funding towards LAP                                         exhibition in  Shetland and Ullapool 2016-17

NEO Terra: findings

On the 12th of November the final beach samples, taken from 60 beaches around Shetland, were carefully examined revealing a vast mix of  small plastic particles which were counted, recorded and projected across the exhibitions interactive space.

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51 of 60 beach samples taken from strandlines around Shetland contained plastic particles – Mangaster and Mavis Grind samples each contained over 100 plastic particles many  contained  Nurdles (plastic pellets being tracked across the world)

Many people returned to the exhibition for a final look and to share their own experiences of encountering beach litter, with stories of particular incidents of pollution from ship wrecks. In the early 1990’s two fish factory ships were wrecked close to Lerwick and residents from Gulberwick (a village a little way south) recounted  how they are still picking up debris from the wrecks particularly compressed foam (a form of plastic) from along their local  beach.  The plastic would have insulated the ships freezers. Perhaps next time the show is mounted there will be an island named WRECK, but for now the islands that made up New Lands /NEO Terra floor installation have been collapsed.

The majority of the plastiglomerates that I collected  from the beaches (25 boxes) and used to make the islands have now been placed in the Lerwick’s landfill facility.  Unfortunately this is the safest way to dispose of plastiglomerates which my have absorbed toxins from the sea. I bagged the few hundred  small plastiglomerates which had made up CORD isle to travel with me to new locations. The first of which was Southampton University   where I mixed together  plastglomerates from Shetland & Wester Ross to create  a geometric ‘Polymer Mix’ as part of my presentation for the ‘Being Human Festival’ focusing on the question ‘Is Plastic fantastic?’

southampton-polymer-mix

The delegates all agreed that plastic is a fantastic material as long as it stays within the economy – being reused and recycled. The vast leakage of plastic into the environment is damaging so many environments as witnessed here on beaches in Scotland, the UK and in oceans across the world. The leakages need to  be stopped whether it’s from factories, tourists on beaches , commercial fishing industries, agriculture or from toilets in our homes! One thing is sure we are all responsible.

NEO Terra will next be mounted in Ullapool at An Talla Solais’s  Caledonian Gallery next May – I will  begin my next collecting expedition to Wester Ross in the New Year. Please get in touch using the comment box below if you have any suggestions of where  the show might  travel too/be shown or have any comment/questions.

Making….

…. the process of making work for the exhibition has steadily been taking place over the last month in a series of places across the country.

Drawing and configuring island plans for my archipelago map and filming micro-plastics  at Wasps Studios in Edinburgh

Collecting & photographing litter items on the Firth of Forth beaches. The Guide to Beach Litter will be launched at an interactive educational event during the exhibition.

Modelling and photographing my toy commando in Borders 128 changes and shots were made to produce a short stop frame sequence for the exhibition animation.

Moldmaking and casting wax replicas of beach litter and the toy commando in the well equipped mixed media workshop at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop

Canvas dying experiments took place this week with friends at An Talla Solais in Ullapool. Scaling up the dying process revealed  difficulties in maintaining the consistent colour I want to achieve, an Ordanance Survey sea blue. Taking this liitation on board the canvas/map will now be made in a time honoured reliable way using paint

The final making stage  of this exhibition work will begin tomorrow when I arrive back in Shetland, where I will be delighted to take up my place as Artist in Residence at Sumburgh Head Lighthouse.

Post written while I wait to board the MVHrossey  from Orkney. Thanks to North Link Ferries support towards my passage.  The show opens on 8th October at Da Gadderie Lerwick Museum and Archives and runs until 12th November.

2016-17

2016 post 2My itinerary for 2016-17 is taking shape, I hope you can join me along the way on this exciting journey on the beaches, in the galleries or on line…..

March- April : West Coast

o Finalising  artwork for the ‘Guide to Beach Litter’

o Location filming on Isle Martin (28th-4th April)

o Collecting & classifying materials

April – June : Shetland 2016 post 1

o Delivering educational workshops

o Animation filming & editing

o Collecting & classifying materials

o May 5th World Environment Day Event

o Exhibition preparation for Shetland Museum

 

2016 post 5Sept -October:Shetland

o  Residency at Sumburgh Head Lighthouse

o Construction of interactive Pod

o Printing limited edition maps

o Install the exhibition

o Show opens at Da Gadderie  Shetland Museum – 8th Oct

o Show continues until 12th Nov

                                  2016 2017 post

2017: Ullapool  

o Production of 2nd Exhibition Map

o Exhibition preparation in Ullapool

o May 5th World Environment Day Event

o Summer Exhibition at An Talla Solais Gallery (information to follow)

o Project /exhibition evaluation and plans

I will be updating this outline itinerary over the coming months and  I will be posting an Exhibition Press Release on the 1st March which will be down loadable. I am looking to build media interest in the exhibition  over the coming months and would much appreciate and suggestions of contacts in the environmental and arts press and beyond.  Please leave a comment below or send a message  littoralartproject@btinternet.com or via @LittoralArt

Many thanks to my collaborators JJ Jamieson and Dr Phillip Cowie , partners Shetland Amenity Trust, An Talla Solais, Isle Martin TrustShetland Museum and to supporters Creative Scotland, Sumburgh Head, Shetland Arts  and Crowd Funding Sponsors  for making this exhibition programme possible

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Studio 4

Spending much longed for time – concentrating on growing ideas for my Littoral Art Project exhibition in 2016 & 17. To do this I have become a happy inmate of studio 4 at An Talla Solias  in Ullapool. My week’s residency has so far focused on beginning to story-boarding  my animation idea which will be an integral piece of my exhibition . Its  exciting to be venturing into an new medium which has intrigued and inspired me over the years.

Studio 4 Studio 4 TS

With over arching thoughts writ large to keep me on track  post-it notes multiplied daily and my narrative has begun to develop, re-positioning the notes aiding rethinking twists and turns of the plot.

Studio 4 board

Gradually ideas are being sketched out across the studio wall  to try and envisage the 2 min film I’m aiming for. Thankfully I have  many friends and colleagues here in Ullapool well versed in my journey and happy to listen to my latest sequence of thoughts.  I also wonderfully have film and documentary maker Sara Nason to call on for mentoring advice , who reminds me of the importance of keeping emotion in the mix.

Studio 4 postit Studio 4 CU post its Studio 4 storyboard Studio 4 story bosard 3

My aim is for sound to be central to the animation though crucially without dialogue, with this in mind I am about to re check my sound notes  on each page before copying and posting to my film collaborator JJ Jaimieson in Shetland for his comments and input.    My plan is to shoot the film on both Isle Martin (Summer Isle) here in Ross-shire and on Shetland in the spring.         JJ Jaimieson will be generating the sound track and editing, this will take  place at the Mareel, Shetland Arts Centre next summer. Shetland Arts have sponsored the studio and editing time for the film.     Thank You.

Studio 4 strapping 2 studio4 strapping

Before leaving  my wonderful  ATS studio and heading back to Edinburgh I will be sorting through a bag of beach litter carefully selected to make a piece of work  which connects this coastal WASTE issue to the bigger Climate Change issue. I will be showing the work here on the blog and on TWITTER #artsgogreen as part of the ArtCOP Scotland events  responding to  the important climate change negotiation (30 Nov-12 Dec). Other arts responses can be found at  Cape Farewell with UN updated over view at COP21

Scotlands Climate March

Saturday 28th November 2015, gather at 12 noon on The Meadows, Edinburgh