Above: humandwolf manifesto by artist Alec Finlay, video shared from Common Ground
Below: text + drawing by HS
Digesting Project Wolf
I add haggis to my breakfast bacon bap at Glenmoriston hotel, waiting for the bus which never arrives. I’m hungry in a carnivorous way, after prowling through a night in which we failed as wolves to find any deer. But the deer were all around us, we knew it, and I’m sure our predator eyes were spied by all those doe-eyed ones before our headlamp beams could catch their forest gazes. The ground was a sphagnum sponge and my sock soaked it up through a crack in my welly.
The rubber boots were full and floppy and I felt prisoner to my human gait as we wound uneasy midnight paths over boulders and crags of the rewilding Dundreggan. I heard once about convicts in colonial Australia who were strapped into anchor-heavy footwear, the souls of which bore the broad arrow of crown property to imprint a traceable direction on the ground, in case they attempted escape. Our physical tracks through Dundreggan weren’t pronounced in this way, but our sonic presence marked an equivalent absence of other nighttime creatures that lingered in our wake. I mentioned to Doug that I felt more like a knock-needed fawn than a stealthy canid, and I wondered what the deer made of our clumsy group rampage through the tall and windless trees as we filled in their silence with our squelching footfall. We weren’t in pursuit of prey, I realised, so much as we were chasing our own trails, Alex carrying a GPS device to record the final night walk of the season. Our ambitious direction confirmed the outermost contour on a graph recording and mapping a month of patient territorial progress.
So Project Wolf wasn’t really about wolves as it wasn’t about deer, but tracking something else: gap-spirit of the imprint ownership leaves on a forest pruned around capitalist patterns of thought?
Continue reading “What does it mean to pass forwards and backwards through time both at once? Digesting Project Wolf”
plastic straws, matches, EU coinage, pill bottle, polystyrene, iphone, anti-scent spray, Youtube instructional videos
Performance Hermione Spriggs + Laura Cooper, Titanik Galleria, Turku, Finland, 13.07.17 / The Showroom, London, 02.09.17
Concert of A-Lure borrows from hunting instructables found on Youtube. The sound + object performance demonstrates the transformation of household materials into sonic lures, made to mimic the calls of prey animals.
decoy spread (Phoenix Court, York St Johns University)
test flight, 16.07.16, Fitzroy allotments
Panel with Kevin Logan and Richey Cary at audibleVISIONS, Goldsmiths
Gobbles Sound Ok
“The real skill of the practitioner lies not in skilled concealment but in the skilled revelation of skilled concealment…”
For hundreds of years philosophers and artists have lamented their incapacity to adequately copy ‘nature’, with frustrated attempts at representation only serving to accelerate the increasing fissure between polarized worlds of human and animal. On the other hand hunters and trappers use finely-tuned strategies for aesthetic and audio mimesis: decoy calls and Foley performances draw a hunter into intimate proximity with his/her prey.
‘Gobbles Sound Ok’ explores the critical difference between these contrasting approaches to discourse with and around the natural world. Via Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Essay on the Origin of Languages, Dijkstra’s theory of image substitution and online hunting instructables, Gobbles Sound OK investigates the production and performance of sonic decoys and hunting lures as multi-sensory, multi-species ‘artworks’ that utilize difference to undermine the boundary between human and animal.
4. (again). I shouldn’t have, I did, I know I shouldn’t, I still do. I’m feeding you. You might be eating me, a bit. You don’t want to but you also do. You can’t quite bite but you almost can, it’s so much safer this way. It’s So Much Safer. I can breathe even though I’m feeding you my oxygen. I can put my finger in your mouth. I’m collecting you rain water, you’re drinking my fluids, there’s pressure and release. I want to take you to the countryside but you’re too carnivorous. You want to be in my bedroom where there’s flies.
“It’s an old tradition that dates back to the Ottoman empire and now only exists in a handful of hidden cafes in Istanbul. One is pictured almost completely obliterated by ivy, with only a hint of an iron gate to suggest an entrance. Inside are subtle signs that these are bird cafes: hooks on walls, the occasional picture.
…The photographic story begins at night with mysterious views of bushes, brightly lit as if by car headlights. A man sits waiting, contemplating; another looks up at the night sky. As dawn breaks one man is seen digging next to a tree, another hangs nets, and these actions taken out of context seem ritualistic. The most treasured birds are caught in the wild, not bred, apparently because their song is all the more complex when it has been learned naturally.”