31 October 2013

Humber Dreams

Building the framework for Humber Dreams, an installation that will be part of this years Humber Mouth Festival. Not much to see so far... I'm working with nothing but invisible threads and acrylic glass sheets. Yet peoples' dreams, the substance of this piece, are materializing in their written form.


"I Have A Dream ..." is the theme of this year's literature festival. - Humber Dreams will be installed in the exhibition space of Hull's Central Library. And there I will be shaping Dreams from next Monday onwards - this word-cloud will evolve throughout the literature festival.

21 October 2013

'arborescent forms'

No. 40
I read about William Armstong's experiments with electrical discharges in his book 'Electric movement in air and water', see last post.

No. 41
While he recorded many of these experiments directly onto photographic plates and created beautiful photos all along, he had to find a different way to capture experiments that produced very bright sparks.

Images No. 40 and 41 are made on plates with a very thin layer of wax and dust. What he captures this way is describes like this [p. 50]:

Inverse image of a wintry tree
"I have already spoken of electricity as organised motion, and we have here an example of it carried apparently to the verge of life. (No. 38)
[...]in the succeeding figure (No. 40) we see arborescent forms, showing trees and undergrowth, in which stems, branches, and leaves find their approximate representatives. Lastly, in the one remaining figure to be shown (No. 41), even the root is indicated lying at the foot of the stem.

And later on he concludes [p. 52]:
Examples have been presented of the remarkable correspondence between some electric figures and living organised forms.


It brings back the photos of the trees I took last winter and Drawings in the sky.

4 October 2013

Water - and electrical currents



A few days in Northumberland. First we stay in Newbiggin, home of the Couple by Sean Henry. On the beach I find drawings created by the sea. A thin layer of black sand covers the usual beige and the ebb and flow of water 'paints' intriguing patterns into this black canvas (left pic).

In contrast the black & white image* shows the trace of an electrical current. This photo stems from a book by Lord Armstrong 'Electric movement in air and water', published 1897. We come across Armstrong's work and genius when, from the coast, we turn inland to visit Cragside near Rothbury.  Cragside was the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity. See also: National Trust site / Cragside

*Image source:
Electric movement in air and water with theoretical inferences
Armstrong, William George London, 1897