Lay of the lAND, BROW HEAD, West Cork, 2019
Lay of the Land, Tombolo 19
28th April - 20th May, 2019
Tombolo is a site responsive artist residency and outdoor exhibition by Lay of the Land, produced by artists Kari Cahill and Hazel McCague. The project takes place on the most southerly point of Ireland, Brow Head on the Mizen Peninsula. Lay of the Land endeavours to take artists outside the gallery and into the wild landscapes of Ireland. Alongside the stunning surroundings, Brow Head also has an interesting cultural heritage, being home to an old 19th-century signal tower. Between 1852-1906 they mined copper, a history you can trace from the marks made in the land. In 1904 Marconi sent the first telegram signals from Brow Head. The works created over the 3-week residency respond to the land and the heritage of the area.
Copper, quartz, steel, rope
234 x 155 x 138 cm
You can see the remnants of Brow Heads industrial past in the stone walls and cottages that dot the headland. Element responds to the location and heritage of Brow Head, situated on a ridge, created by the remains of the miners stone walls. Some are left standing, but many so over grown they meld back to the land, their traces leaving behind unique geographical features.
The discovery of copper and our harnessing of it is just one example of how material discoveries have changed how we interact with and inhabit the world. Blue veins run through through the mineral rich quartz weighting us to the ground. The processed copper sheet is moved by the strong winds that shape the headland, symbolising our turbulent relationship to the natural forces as we move in rhythm with the universe.
Element is woven from collective moments shared by the Lay of the Land community. It is created from old agricultural machines found on the farm and quartz, which appears naturally in the rock strata. Thanks to farmers John and Jackie and to Katrin Hanusch. A particular thanks to the time and wisdom of Kari Cahill and Daria Hartmann, and the metal work of Meadhbh Corrigan and Jonah McGreevey.
Moving time is the first piece I created at Brow Head. On the 4th of May, I worked from sunrise to sunset - for 15 hrs, collecting rocks and placing them in a line. Each time I placed a rock I held it to the sun, allowing the spin of the earth to dictate where the rock should lie. The piece is not only a measure of the sun lighting the earth but also a measure of the time it took to collect the rocks and my energy.
The rocks were selected carefully, only by what could be carried and moved on the land without disruption to any particular place. The curve changed depending on how long it took me to collect and place the rocks. The landscape is dotted with the stone boundary walls and shelters created by our ancestors, the process of the work is an attempt to walk in their footsteps whilst also developing an intimate knowledge of the landscape.
1450 x 1630 cm
Tombolo is a collaboration between the land and each other. The following 4 works were made with the artists Katrin Hanusch, Sofia Arredondo, Melanie King, Millie Egan and Brenda Kearney. During the residency we collaborated throughout the artistic process, sharing the roots of our practice and inspiring new ways of working and interacting with the land. Seen above is the first of these pieces, the Landotype.
18,000 x 60 cm
Early on in the residency we made a series of experiments in photography, including anthotypes and cyanotypes. On acknowledging the photosensitivity of plants we decided to create a print in the land inspired by the areas mining heritage. We signified the distance the miners would have walked into darkness, by blocking the light from the grass. The line measured the depth of the local mines allowing for contemplation on the land and those who worked there.
Cotton, steel, rope
400 x 300 x 900 cm
Oi draws attention to the setting, framing the vast openness of the headland. The winds change the aspects of the frame, revealing and concealing different view points.
Cotton, steel and rope
400 x 700 x 1100cm
Oii works in response to different geographical conditions, sitting within this manmade terrace, yet another trace of the areas mining heritage. The viewer can look down through the frames, to the earth and sea, whilst underneath they look up to the sky as the textile breaths with the wind.
Cotton cyanotype print and rope
1000 x 300 cm
This photographic cyanotype print was created by the light of the Sun, hung to connect the sea and sky. The print was created with sea spaghetti and left to change with the tides. The salt water turns the cyanotype blue to this earthy brown, drawing it back to the land and depicting the change in water levels.
One of the most important aspects of this project is the people involved. When working on such a vast landscape no individual could take it on alone, behind the scenes making all of these works possible was a fantastic crew of skilled technicians and volunteers, who not only supported the creation of the work but also provided a lot of love and laughter, for this I’m truly grateful.
Tombolo 19 was funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, Cork County Council and the generous donations of the Lay of the Lay of the Land community.