Saturday, 27 June 2009
Inevitably, and although I told myself I wouldn't too soon into the project, there are places that I'm already attracted to work in/on. The fences are one, beautiful thin black iron fences that run the lengths of the fields. Then there are the visible but inaccessible spaces at the farm; roof spaces, stables and sties. Then there is the estate walk itself, or the garden, and that's before I've even gone near the castle itself...
Monday, 22 June 2009
Thursday, 18 June 2009
Friday, 12 June 2009
This week I've been impressed by the lack of control we have over the place, by the sheer indifference of the buildings to all this activity. Lime wash falls from the ceiling, walls fade, dust hangs, animals roam - no control - the place breathes
and exhales its own life, indifferent to cleaning, product placement; 'image'.
Thursday, 11 June 2009
Being involved in the place I'm starting to get a feel for the recent changes, the near history of the place as well as the established NT 'History' which is Chirk's selling point. This recent history, as things that used to be fade from memory (''that door used to be open, and people could go out and visit the pigs, or pet the horses as they came in to the courtyard'') is something that I'm drawn to - these stories from behind the scenes. An alternative guide book?
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
It's made me wonder about collecting some evidence of this somehow - thinking about Bruce Nauman's Mapping The Studio where he put video and sound recorders in his empty studio overnight.
Sunday, 7 June 2009
As I left today, another reminder of the connection of this place to its wider environs. Trees dripping left over rain drops on the roof of the car, wet lambs picking at sodden grass, and the sweet smell of chocolate pervading all - from the Cadbury factory which is half a mile away at the bottom of the hill.
Saturday, 6 June 2009
Thursday, 4 June 2009
It’s a bit disingenuous to talk about first impressions here – I’ve visited Chirk a number of times, wandered around the grounds, had the proper experience of the house and the garden. I live locally; it’s a familiar place to me. The challenge with this project (and the thrill, the excitement of it) is to look a bit deeper, a bit longer, a bit wider, or a bit more askance at this place; to take it all in and get under its skin.
It’s a beautiful place, perched high up, overlooking the surrounding area. The place is full of history. But I don’t want this project to be all about history, about the past. When I look through the images of Chirk (on the NT website, or the postcards in the shop) they are all about the things that direct us to the past – the castle, the gates, the preserved rooms, the elaborate topiary. All are presented in perfection, in the absence of humans, of any indications of the present. Of course I can understand that you might not want a distracting presence when you’re trying to illustrate a place, but does it say something – about preservation, appearance, what should and should not be shown? People are everywhere at Chirk, especially now as the main season begins. The place is alive, with people working and people at leisure, and it’s all happening now, at this moment.
So that’s one thing I want to explore – the ‘now’ of the place, as well as the ‘then’; the present as it juxtaposes, collides and intermingles with the past.
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
There are lots of hen houses at Home Farm visitor centre, but this hen is all on her own seemingly. I've named her Ruffles, for her feathery legs. I'll have to find out if she already has a name.
She's a pretty amusing sight when she's on the run!
And so to begin. I haven’t looked very hard to see how other people start their blogs (with a big fanfare maybe?) but I feel this needs a little explanation.
This blog will be about the research, development and day to day processes of a four month artist-in-residence project at Chirk Castle, North Wales, which I started this month.
Chirk Castle is a 700 year old castle set in park and farmland and owned and run by the National Trust. The goal of the residency is to reflect upon and create works in response to the situation of Chirk Castle: its visitors, employees, the location (gardens, park and farmland) and to explore its associations and connections with aspects of the surrounding locality.
Another, personal goal I’ve set myself with this project is to interrogate the nature of the ‘residency’ as form of artistic practice and to question who or what initiates the residency and on whose terms it is carried out. What I’m particularly keen to do is to explore the possibility of thinking and making creatively while being employed to carry out other work – and in so doing to explore the interstice between ‘work’ and ‘practice’ in terms of ‘residency’.