Gardens Project Seven: Progress of Sorts

Gardens Project Seven: Progress of Sorts

I’ve been trying to work out what I’m doing and all I can come up with are questions.

Do ghosts have girdling roots tightening around them over time until they stop? What happens when they stop? What does a stopped ghost feel like?

What about transcience? I have photographs that serve as the only memory of a place and time, everything else in my head is learned. The photograph is felt.

Hauntology? (‘a situation of temporal and ontological disjunction in which presence is replaced by a deferred non-origin’ according to wikipedia) another word for nostalgia in contemporary cultural discourse.

There is a sense that searching for ‘self’ in memory untethers the present and causes drift between the then and the now.

The garden is the liminal space in which all the questions are asked and none are answered. Now all I need to do is find a word for that.

Savick: Transient Landscape

Savick: Transient Landscape ‘the big match’

This image is the drawn from the photgraph that is the inspiration for Savick, the first transition scene in the gardens project. The outline idea is that the passage between gardens opens into these half remembered spaces. I remember little of significance about them, but I have evidence that I was there. Each garden grows the space so that, should you wish, you could go backwards but find things changed.

The video shows the space refined with a transition to the next scene (I’ve substituted one of the gardens here) where you come down the slide.


I’ve continued drawing every day. After I completed a year I moved back to ‘analogue’ drawing – I use a sketchbook now, and coloured pencils!

Draw Every Day - June 2021

Right Handed Drawing 1st of June

The interesting things about the processes is that digital is slower to do because you can correct as you go. Having to accept the mark you make encourages you to be bold about it and not get hung up on little errors. As a consequence some of the drawings are not all that to be fair.

The other interesting thing is that drawing left handed still requires more concentration, the movements you make when drawing are not as ingrained as for the right hand (or vice versa for your wrong hand) and seem to control themselves as much as you try to corral them, it makes the process more difficult but often gives a much better quality of line. The draing above is right handed, the one below left handed.

Draw Every Day - June 21 Progress of Sorts

A bowl of fruit drawn left handed on 6th June 2021

You can look at the other images here.

Garden’s Project 6: Bits and Pieces

Garden’s Project 6: Bits and Pieces

It’s a full month since I last posted, not a lot to report to be fair but here goes.

Garden's Project 6: Bits and Pieces

Garden’s Project 6: Bits and Pieces

I attended the Aesthetica ‘Future Now’ online conference, including a portfolio review with Charmian Griffin who is Head of Digital at Artangel []. I showed her the film of Miro World [] and got a favourable response and some useful advice about finding opportunities to show and gain support, funding or otherwise. The channels she suggested were Sheffield Doc Fest [] obiviously too late to enter for 2021 and the Copenhagen Documentary Film Festival, CPH:DOX [] which has, like DocFest, an art strand. Charmian also suggested some potential funding/support sources.

As to the festival itself the highlights for me were the ‘Digital Ecologies, 3D story telling’ talk with Jakob Kudsk Steensen. [] A really interesting discussion about his current project, based in the Camargue near Arles, and how the pandemic shutdown has affected his working process positively and negatively. Steensen’s work is classified as ‘slow media’ which he describes as using media technologies to foster attention and aid concentration. He seeks to positively use the way the technologies dictate the way you look at the world. There are really good examples of this on his website, ‘The Deep Listener’ [] the first Serpentine Augmented Architecture commission and ‘Catharsis’ [] which is a VR world, shown as a film, both indoors and outdoors at the Serpentine. The website has a conversation section where you can see Steensen describing his process and motivations, the Louisiana Channel “Our Middle Existence” is particularly interesting.

I also watched a really interesting interview with Bieke Depoorter [] about her new book ‘Agata’.

Alongside this I’ve continued drawing every day,

Draw Every Day - May 21 - iPad drawing

Draw Every Day – May 21 – iPad drawing

This was the 365th consecutive drawing using the iPad, the May 21 Gallery is here

I changed tack after the year and I’ve moved into drawing in a ‘real’ sketchbook, with proper pencils!

A drawing of an iPad showing a drawing of a fallen apple blossom

iPad drawing – Moleskin sketchbook and water colour pencils

I’ve also been working on the Gardens Project, the Glover Street section, where I have a slide that can be climbed and some other playground furniture.

You should always look down on a circus

You should always look down on a circus

Charles Bukowski said “we’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus!”, at least according to the internet – I’ve got several Bukowski collections and I can’t find the quote. Bukowski is one of those writers who have hundreds of publications it seems, so it may exist somewhere. I read Bukowski because of the manner he works in, the continual production without, apparently, applying quality control during the process. It was my greatest frustration when I taught that people couldn’t grasp that creating anything works in stages and requires editing. It’s an iterative process. I also like the way Bukowksi throws out a thought and runs with it, following the route it takes towards whatever he ends up with. The quote above continues “That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.” 

There is an obvious metaphor for life with the circus, the backstage (off ring?) living and the performative presence, the constant practice before the audience gets to see the output and the sense of separateness, of being in a community that does not belong to the general population, of being a way out. (Have I ever written a longer string of cliches?)

The circus, and it’s all a circus, should be witnessed from above. You should look down on the performers and the audience, freezing the action often to contemplate the ludicrous pirouettes and somersaults.

You should watch the purposeless gyrations and applaud, then make your choices like Beckett’s ‘Molloy‘  “[…] I came upon a kind of crossroads, you know, a star, or circus, of the kind to be found in even the most unexplored of forests. And turning then methodically to face the radiating paths in turn, hoping for I know not what, I described a complete circle, or less than a circle, or more than a circle, so great was the resemblance between them.”

Beckett, S (1979). The Beckett Trilogy. London: Pan Books Ltd

Sometime in 2003 or 2004 I made a set of wax maquettes for a group of sculptures and produced a couple of drawings from them. The other day, mid March 2021, I woke up having dreamt about one of the drawings and with an idea in my mind of a new figure for the group.

you should always look down on a circus, 2002/3 version 2

you should always look down on a circus, 2002/3 version 2

After producing a set of new drawings I set about finding the original drawings to compare to the set. The drawing above is the first one I found. I still have the idea of the drawing I woke up with and it’s closer to the image below but that’s not what I remember.

you should always look down on a circus, 2002/3

you should always look down on a circus, 2002/3

Both these drawings are 100cm x 70cm or thereabouts.

The title ‘You Should Always Look Down on a Circus’ is scrawled at the top of a each of two sketchbook pages that I found. I remembered the images were suggestive of circuses. Late nights watching Tod Browning’s 1932 film ‘Freaks‘  may have contributed to the feel of the portrait drawing, which I think was the first, but also the grouping of the objects and their interactions, including shadows, is also suggestive of a circus ring.

The new drawings started with a set of arches, referencing an unmade sculpture ‘acrobats’ from around the same period – Virtual Sculptures Gallery –

The large group in the centre of the gallery is ‘Acrobats’

tumbling 1

Tumbling 1


tumbling practice

tumbling practice



The dream suggested a set of tumbling arches and an almost tied knot that I’ve explored through a set of thirteen drawings, twelve A1 size and one 130cm x 100cm. The drawings eventually suggested a harlequin. –

Harlequin and Tumbler

Harlequin and Tumbler

Harlequin and Trapeze

Harlequin and Trapeze

I built a maquette for the group that I imagined and have since remade the original objects to reproduce the drawing that I had in mind. That drawing either never existed or has been lost.

circus maquette 050321

harlequin with tumblers

The first maquette ‘harlequin with tumblers’ made at the beginning of March.

I then recreated the original maquette from my drwings so that I could remake the drawing I think I remembered in my dream.

you should always look down on a circus, 2002/3 model remade

you should always look down on a circus, 2002/3 model remade

It’s a rough maquette but from this I did some more sketchbook drawings until I got the composition and then made the big drawing below.

You Should Always Look Down on a Circus (2003/4 - 2021)

You Should Always Look Down on a Circus (2003/4 – 2021)

I’m building a version of the combined maquettes as a larger sculpture, that will form another post.