06 September 2020
In considering how to be together again, I ask what it means to establish your identity in and occupy spaces such as an empty moorland when there’s not really anyone else around?
This year most of us were forced inwards, physically in our homes and mentally in our heads. For me, the pandemic stretched what should have been a 4 week long trip to Yorkshire into a 7 month involuntary sabbatical. A few hours of daily exercise and fresh air, and the discovery of my old Nintendo game consoles became the two main hobbies which have since informed my practice; walking in the moors and playing The Legend of Zelda.
Being back at the small house within the small town I grew up in, I developed a very specific feeling of self awareness. I was constantly noticing parallels between my pre and post London living selves; basically reliving the same days I enjoyed as a kid 15 years apart. It made me wonder at which point dressing up and obsessing over fantasy media stopped being play and instead became a career? While I made refreshing reconnections with ever-changing comforts such as my free time/parents/dog/town etc, my relationship with the surrounding landscape felt different. The moors haven’t changed, but they make me aware that I have. As something which I didn’t pay much attention to until I left home, the landscape which defines my county has become my favourite part about spending time in Yorkshire. The proximity to vast, stark wilderness provides pure and necessary thinking time. Without sounding too corny, the moors are a blank canvas which I was desperate to decorate.
Corona coerced me into giving more care and attention to small daily joys, and i’m attempting to harmonise these menial moments of pleasure with their contribution to my artwork. For the next four weeks I’ll be exploring and sharing these introspective ways of practice. Through balancing and exploring mental and physical landscapes, I will attempt to understand the land, community and cultures which shaped me and my creative interests.
Useful links for reference:
This is the amazing research and archiving project I was lucky enough to contribute to last year. The team are great and continue to support my work – https://wyqs.co.uk/
An article I recently read which, while very cis white male focused, raises some interesting points in relation to queer representation in the UK’s rural spaces – https://www.fwi.co.uk/farm-life/how-gay-tolerant-is-the-countryside
Also – The City and The Pillar, by Gore Vidal, is a cute classic novel which I haven’t read for a while, but definitely informed my interest in this topic.
Image dump 1 – A Camping Trip
Embarking on a queer adventure refreshingly uncentered around hedonism.
(Images 1 and 3 are test prints of work in progress, reusing some behind the scenes photos I took during my last film project, Riding West on a Walrus Tail, which was made in collaboration with Angelina Jesson and West Yorkshire Queer Stories.)