During the Bryn Celli Ddu Rock Art Project on Anglesey in June 2015, artist Angela Davies will be working at the site and with the project archaeologists, investigating the artistic possibilities of this remarkable passage tomb and surrounding landscape. Cadw’s Heritage and Arts Manager, Dr. Ffion Reynolds asks her a few questions about her plans:
Explain to us what kind of work you do and what you have been doing up to this point.
Within my practice, I explore themes of permanence and transience, light and shadow, to represent past and present landscapes. I work across disciplines to create both intimate and large scale sculptural light and site-specific works. I am interested in fusing traditional craft disciplines with creative technologies - electronics, coding and moving image. The use of electronics translates the idea of communication and connectivity.
I have exhibited my work nationally and internationally and have undertaken residencies at Ruthin Craft Centre, Chirk Castle, Gawthorpe Textiles Collection and St Asaph Cathedral. I am currently engaged in research with OPTiC - Optro-Electronics Technology, Glyndwr University, where I am working in collaboration with scientists to explore lens and lighting technology.
Over the next few months you are going to be researching and spending time unravelling the mysteries of the Bryn Celli Ddu passage tomb and landscape of Anglesey to our audiences. Where did this initial interest in Bryn Celli Ddu come from and where are you hoping to take your research during your residency?
‘Time, people, place’ is a theme that that underpins my practice and an area I would like to further explore during this residency. I would like to encourage an open dialogue for a shared experience and vision with researchers, staff and audiences. It is anticipated that this approach will inform a site-responsive ‘light’ (and possibly multi-sensory) sculpture and possible production(s) at the Bryn Celli Ddu site.
Laser scans of the landscape and 3-D modeling will inform the development of the work as impressions of the past and slices of time. A method of unearthing the past through excavation will bridge the past with the present, to understand the histories of the past.
I would like to look at the inscribed detail on the stone at the site, to possibly gather symbolic reference. I will look at the potential relationship of other sites which have a geographical connection to Bryn Celli Ddu; to consider ‘areas of light’ that connect to ‘patterns of distribution’.
What interested you about the opportunity to be an Artist in Residence at Bryn Celli Ddu?
The opportunity to work alongside archaeologists during the excavation is an incredibly exciting opportunity and one which I have considered for some time. During this residency, I wish to consider religious and ceremonial happenings that occurred at Bryn Celli Ddu. I will explore materials used to construct the chamber. In particular, the structural and luminescence quality of the quartz along the passageway of the tomb; the relationship to light and the alignment of the sun that illuminates the passageway during solstice. The conceptual nature of Triboluminescence and the potential performative experiences that this may have provided is key to this investigation.
Is it important for you to interact with the local community during a residency? In what way?
It is incredibly important for me to engage the public as much as possible in the creative journey, to offer opportunities for them to engage in the research and processes that are involved in creating different art forms. It is hoped that by creating a ‘happening’ in the form of a sensory production at the site, this will engage as many people as possible and to give insight into the concepts explored during the residency.
What can we expect to see from you throughout your residency at Bryn Celli Ddu?
It is anticipated that the research and collaboration will inform a ‘happening’ to engage the public during the solstice - to convey the idea of electric energy that passes from one place to another, igniting human passing with light.
Research and creative outcomes will be shared through dialogue and visual/audio representations of work. This will also be achieved through social media and entries to a blog to chart the development of the research journey via Angela Davies' website. You can come and see her at the Bryn Celli Ddu Open Day on the 20 June, between 11-4pm.