In addition to my own practice I create immersive, creative and accessible public events as one half of Periscope, a creative partnership with artist Alison Cockcroft. Periscope’s philosophy and methodology has been carefully developing since our first event in 2014 which was part of the Gifts for Mother Mnemosyne exhibition programme. The Wanderer’s Drawing Studio became the blueprint for Periscope’s non-hierarchical, democratic creative spaces for all. You can read more about Periscope’s methodology and events here.
As part of Periscope’s most recent event – The Explorer’s Dream – recently developed participatory pieces were incorporated into the space, further blurring the boundaries between Periscope and my own practice.
Imagined Mountains began as part of ‘Even A Stopped Wheel‘, a body of participatory work developed with Loughborough University from 2018-2019. Using a gradually erased mezzotint as a starting point, a series of low quality photocopies were made and the public invited to complete the partially erased drawing. Imagined Forests was created during the Explorer’s Dream project as a response to the 60+ contributions to Imagined Mountains.
The series of around 120 altered photocopies entitled ‘Imagined mountains’ and ‘Imagined Forests’ emerged from a body of socially engaged, participatory work exploring multiple narratives and gathering responses to prompts concerned with socially influenced notions of the wild and wilderness.
Using a single image (from a mezzotint series showing either a gradually erased mountain range or rooted tree stump) as an access point for public participation, what arises is a collection of multiple responses to a theme, a playful survey of public imagination. The erasure of part of the image creates an opening for participation – for the other – whilst avoiding the intimidation of, and often haphazard response to, a completely blank canvas.
Both pieces explore the potential of un-precious, carefully structured and accessible public creative engagement in the drawing-out of narratives, and in accessing public/plural imaginations. The methodology of providing the starting point of an incomplete drawing creates a uniform response framework, whilst providing a safe visual space for an unselfconscious response. These pieces are often created during conversations, showing the potential of a drawing to reveal – when collected and collated – a sort of zeitgeist of public imagination.