Studio Sicilia, Cianciana, Sicily – October 2014
I was selected to be artist in residence for the Jerome F. Cox fellowship in Cianciana in Sicily to look at the theme of migration.
Time and place are part of migration. The word ‘migration’ appears in the 1610s to describe ‘a removal, a change of abode’. The word ‘ration’ appears in the 1550s and meant ‘reasoning’. My ration, and my reasoning, as I travelled overland and sea from Leeds to Cianciana, was to only carry with me what I thought I’d need. And to carry the minimum. This ‘ration’ that I took informed the work and some of it became the work. Through my/our feet and onto the page, the journey showed its fragility and what is normally discarded became a beautiful record of a place.
Leeds to Cianciana to Leeds to Cianciana…
2 box sets of books each containing: 14 books, 84 paths, 1961 miles
Each series of booklets contains the number of meters or miles between 2 points that would eventually get you from Leeds to Cianciana and from Cianciana to Leeds.
They contain no directional points.
They are not the route I took.
The two sets were displayed simultaneously at their starting / destination points, in as similar circumstances as possible. The elements then took part in the creating of the work with water (rain) blurring the words of the book in Leeds.
The sets were reunited when I arrived to do the residency.
This was a performance piece that happened at different times during the residency. I took with me AA Gills book: ‘Here and There’, which is a collection of short writings about his experiences here and there.
The project had a number of layers to it but essentially it was about recording the experience of a journey between significant points that connected with jouney within Cianciana.
I began with the book. Reading it from cover to cover.
I timed how long it took me to read each chapter and then cut a footprint from each chapter (going right/left/right/left through the book). After that I/we walked for that length of time with the cutout in my shoe.
On some of the walks I was accompanied by people I met and we talked about migration in the town. It was these conversations that determined the route that I took.
The route included the old sulphur mine (a driver of migration in and out of the town), the former train station (connected with the mine), the town’s clocktower and the high point.
And it was recorded via the feet of the walkers by placing a paper footprint in the shoes.
18 conversation with Cigarette Butts
Pencil on Paper
In 2014 Cianciana was a truely diverse community. The 18 butts represented Ireland, different areas of America and the UK, Sicily and wider Italy.
This piece was all about the detail of leaving an imprint. And in many ways an exploration of waste and how we engage with it. Each cigarette stubb was unique – the method of its stubbing out particular to the person. Each contained the DNA of its owner.
I am not a smoker. It was the most physical contact I had with cigarette in my life.