- Title: Siobhan Davies Commissions (2011)
- Summary: 16mm film with live installation Gill Clarke and Lucy Skaer investigated ways to unbalance normal conditions and record different realities. Travelling to the now uninhabited island of St Kilda and to Mount Stuart, the ancestral home of St Kilda’s former owner (the Fifth Marquess of Bute), Clarke and Skaer double exposed film, making visible the historic link between the two places. The resulting superimposed images, and live elements of the work, explore conflicting senses of gravity and presence through destabilised image and movement.
- Work: A Dance of Ownership, A Song in Hand
- Choreographer: Siobhan Davies
- Dancer: Fiona Millward, Kirsty Alexander, Helka Kaski
- Sound Engineer: Alan Stones
- Artist: Gill Clarke, Lucy Skaer
- Contributors: Rob Smith
- Analysis: Exploring our sense of gravity and observing the body’s spontaneous adjustment to the unpredictable, Gill Clarke and Lucy Skaer travelled by boat to the uninhabited island of St Kilda, 40 miles north west of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. The resulting 16mm film is an exercise in chance: the film is double exposed. The first exposure was made on St Kilda, then the film was manually rewound and re-shot in Mount Stuart, the remarkable ancestral home of the Fifth Marquis of Bute, who was the previous owner of the remote islands. The films were left unlabelled, leaving it also to chance what images were combined.
‘Steely blues and greys of the wild coastline overlay opulent marble-floored, painted and columned interiors while, within the prismatic, surreal space, hands flex and extend or a figure moves circumspectly, as if calculating its own viability and that of its surroundings. The presence of the body is significantly ghostly and often absurdly out of scale, amplifying the artists’ loosened grip on composition.’ Sally O’Reilly (Catalogue Essay)
The film was paired with a soundtrack which drew on footage of ‘waulking songs’ from the Outer Hebrides. In keeping with the film projection, this was played on reel-to-reel audio tape and was a physical presence in the space, manually operated by performers who brought a certain unpredictability also to the sound environment.
- Venue: Bargehouse, London, Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute