The Documentation mini-residencies were held in the run-up to the True North: Recording the Past, Present and Future conference held at Timespan in March 2014, bringing together artists working with the conference theme of documentation as a subject and/or a process.
The four artists-in-residence selected following an open call were: Hannah Imlach, Moira Jeffrey, Ruth Maclennan, and Amy Todman.
Visual artist Hannah Imlach works predominantly in sculpture, creating site-specific and transient works that are documented with photography, drawing, in artist books, and more recently using moving image. Her practice is shaped by a desire to explore wild places and engage with the impending threats posed by climate change.
Creating sculptures that change in, or relate to, their environment, Hannah used the time at Timespan to consider more closely the role that documentation plays within her practice and the communicative role that documentation has in relation to her sculptural work.
As her contribution to the conference, Hannah ran an exploration session Future Narratives in Artist Documentation considering the ways in which speculative environmental fictions can be communicated within artist documentation.
Moira Jeffrey is a fiction writer, critic and independent researcher based in Glasgow. She is currently art critic of the Scotsman and is a prominent features journalist in both print and broadcast media. She teaches arts journalism at Glasgow Caledonian University and her fiction has been published in the periodical 2HB. In 2009, she received the prestigious Fairbairn Residency for Critical Writers at Cove Park, Scotland.
During the residency at Timespan, Moira focused on the development of Sonsiquoy, an experimental written work blending fiction, memoir and historical documents relating to a croft at Freswick Bay, Caithness to which she has family links and from which the project takes its name. The work is created not from primary research onsite but largely from the documentation available; the attempt to evoke a place without revisiting it constructed as a deliberate evocation of historical, geographical and emotional remoteness and as an implicit examination of accepted notions of site specificity, evidence and authenticity.
At the conference, Moira gave a performative reading of Sonisquoy.
Ruth Maclennan’s work begins with an encounter with a place and focuses on overlooked moments, material remains and fragments of stories of unresolved conflict and suppressed realities and includes video installations, photography, bookworks, drawings, live events, and curatorial projects. Her recent film Theodosia, shot in Crimea, was screened at ICA, London, and at ICIA, Bath. Ruth’s current research centers on changing perceptions of the sea in the context of climate change and the geo-political shift northwards.
Ruth used the residency as an opportunity to work with and reflect on the film, sound, and other materials already gathered in Russia and in Orkney and to walk, film, and research Helmsdale and the surrounding area, considering the histories of the coast as a liminal, shifting space between land and sea, and its capacity to throw up traces of the past, and wash them away.
Her film Call of North was screened at the True North conference.
Amy Todman is the Referendum Curator at the National Library of Scotland, a post with the aim of building a representative collection of the 2014 Referendum on Scottish Independence to ensure that a comprehensive and inclusive record of this pivotal historical event is preserved and made accessible for the benefit of the people of Scotland, as well as historians and researchers.
For Amy, the two-week mini-residency was an opportunity to further explore the geographical and digital aspects of collecting the Referendum, and to create an exchange of ideas around the referendum as documentary experience, opening a dialogue around the role of digital culture in relation to local experience.
Amy contributed to the round table Archiving Matters alongside artist Nicky Bird, Timespan Archive Development Manager Jo Clements and An Lanntair special projects officer Jon Macleod .