Drovers film Online

As the Confluence commission is now finished the Pembrokeshire Drovers film has been made accessible  via my YouTube Channel. The main film and the short public engagement film are linked together with a joint viewing time of approximately 12 minutes. I am also posting a PDF of the accompanying artists book from the project. There are other potential screenings planned so future posts with event details may follow. Please note that the film is a low resolution version and is not intended for large screen viewing. If you are interested in screening the HD full screen version you will need to contact me directly.

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Film screengrab

YouTube Video:

 

St. Davids Exhibition

Pembrokeshire Drovers film and exhibition has opened at Oriel y Parc (The Park Gallery) in  St. Davids and will be showing until 9th of september 09:30-5:00 daily. Here’s the link: http://www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk/default.asp?PID=483 

The gallery also has a TATE partnership project showing at the same time,  Constable’s ‘Salisbury Cathedral from The Meadows’ (1831), which is the focus of a landscape exhibition that includes a range of related artworks. The Drovers film works well in this context and there are subtle parallels between the exhibitions. The possibility of extending the Drovers exhibition is currently being discussed so it may be a few months before the film and exhibition images are posted online but in the near future this is still the intention, to make the work freely available.  More on this in the next post in September.

Oriel y Parc 2 Oriel y Parc 1

 

Premiere and Exhibition Haverfordwest Festival Week

Film screengrab

The Pembrokeshire Drovers film was installed and first screened on Saturday 23rd July as part of the Haverfordwest Festival Week. The location for the exhibition was No.2 Old Bridge, a lovely old building on the original drovers road into town. The film is in fact two films, the main Pembrokeshire Drovers film, which is 10 minutes duration, followed by the short Haverfordwest Drovers film, 2 minutes, which is the result of the public engagement event. For the project I also put together a photographic exhibition and an artist’s book.

Old Bridge Installation

The first day was well attended with a good mix of locals and visitors dropping in to see the work. I was particularly pleased that so many people commented on the soundscape of the film, something that is often overlooked, but the fantastic sound system and 4k TV used for the installation really helped emphasise the subtleties of the film, visual and audio. The commissioners seem pleased with the end result, and I think we were all particularly encouraged by the number of people who expressed a desire for a permanent contemporary exhibition space in the town. In keeping with the philosophy of the Ideas, People, Places theme – the arts as a major catalyst for citizen led creative, social and economic regeneration – the response so far bodes well for the town and surrounding area and is a positive contribution to the Confluence programme.

Drovers exhibiiton

My project partners have been fantastic to work with, especially Kate Wood and Chris Evans, who have allowed me full artistic licence to explore the drovers theme within my own creative and conceptual parameters. In return I have tried to stike a balance of artistic rigour and ingenuity with accessibility – public engagement being at the forefront of my arts methodology for this particular project. The installation continues until Saturday 29th July and then travels to Oriel y Parc (the Park Gallery) in St. David’s where it opens on the 5th of August and runs until the first week of September. At the close of the project I will make the film publicly available through a vimeo link, which will be accessible through this and other related sites. I will post the next blog when the film is installed at Oriel y Parc and the related activities for the project are confirmed.

 

‘Haverfordwest Drovers’ Public Engagement Event

The public engagement event, ‘Drovers Living Screen Experiment’, took place on the evening of Thursday 9th of June with a good turn out of participants from the local community. The original plan was to create an outside event near the old bridge, which forms part of the original drovers road in and out of Haverfordwest. However, even at 9:00pm the evening light, being so close to the summer solstice, was a bit of an issue, so the event had to be adapted somewhat. The participants were asked to move between the interior and exterior of the exhibition site, N0. 2 The Bridge, forming a snaking line that moved in, out and across the projected ‘Pembrokeshire Drovers’ film clips. They also performed a reciprocating motion that worked particularly well with some of the drover’s animal clips. The film will now be edited to create a short film that accompanies the main project film, which I have just started editing and which will be completed in time for the Haverfordwest Festival week 23rd-29th July. The film and exhibition then move to Oriel y Parc (The Park Gallery) in St. David’s for five weeks. Details will follow in a few weeks.

Thanks to all those who helped organize the event and particular thanks to the participants.

Blog 2

Blog 1

Be In The Pembrokeshire Drovers Film

 

A Public Invitation to Be In The Pembrokeshire Drovers Film

 A busy few weeks exploring some of the inland, coastal and pilgrim droving routes that still need to be filmed, alongside the planning and location scouting for the final film installation in Haverfordwest, which forms part of the Haverfordwest Festival week 23-30th July.

Working in partnership with The Lab Haverfordwest a key public engagement element of the project is to create a choreographed live film event and we are inviting the public to be part of an unusual film experiment. On Thursday the 9th of June at 9:00pm I will be stationed at No. 2 Old Bridge, which will be the exhibition space for the film’s premiere during festival week. I am inviting the public to come along between 9:00pm and 10:00pm to participate in what could loosely be described as ‘a living movie’. I would like participants to wear white or pale clothing, and if possible long coats or jackets and cowboy hats or wide brimmed hats, and to act as modern day ‘drovers’ (the name of the men and women who used to drive cattle and livestock from place to place), moving back and forth across the beam of my film projection.

I will project extracts taken form the film into the evening darkness, which will only be visible when the public, wearing their pale ‘drovers’ clothing, pass through the light. In this way the film will only ‘exist’ when the public make the images visible by the act of illuminating the projected images while slowly moving through them – creating a genuinely ‘live’ film screen. The intention is to then create an edited ‘short’ from the footage, which will be screened alongside the finished film in July and then in August at Oriel y Parc in St. Davids.

For location and timing details see The Labs post for the event: http://www.thelabhaverfordwest.org/event/a-chance-to-be-part-of-pembrokeshire-drover/

Haverfordwest Drovers Night Projection

cowboy hat projection

On Route: Old Drovers Roads and Farms

Learn more about the Pembrokeshire Drovers project: https://studiowestorguk.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/pembrokeshire-drovers-blog/

May 1st 2016. For the past few weeks I have been following some of the old drovers routes between Haverfordwest and St. David’s. I’ve focused on the areas around Rhos, Slebech Park and the Dau Gleddau Estuary. This is an area that is popular with tourists who are drawn to the scenic landscape, the quaint hamlets and the architectural grandeur of Picton Castle and Slebech Park, the latter with its famous landscaped gardens. I’m particularly drawn to the sections of road that have become almost lost in the landscape, seldom used, even by walkers, and overgrown with wild garlic and reeds.

May blog old drovers roads

I’ve also visited a known drovers farm and route near Lower Harglodd Farm, not far from St. David’s. The farm belongs to the Beynon family who have been farming the area for generations. Breeders of Pembrokeshire Blacks the farm is currently managed by Dr. Sarah Beynon, farmer, biologist, and founder-director of the award winning Dr. Beynon’s Bug Farm. http://www.drbeynonsbugfarm.com The Bug Farm with its fantastic tropical house of exotic insects is well worth a visit as is the ‘Grub Kitchen’ café and restaurant and there are plans for an on site museum to follow. The 100 acre family farm is being developed by Sarah and her team as an insect-friendly, environmentally and ecologically sustainable working farm with the Bug Farm’s educational and environmental remit at the heart of the operation. Sarah is continuing the family tradition of rearing Pembrokeshire Blacks and on the day I visited a calve had just been born.

Drovers May blog1

I spoke with her father who remembers droving with his father, Sarah’s Grandpa Beynon, and in their family archive is an original cheque from the Black Ox Bank (the original drovers bank that became Loyds Bank in 1909).

Grandpa Beynon Drover St. Davids

I also spent some time filming the other farm livestock, in particular the horses, as the horse was such a key animal for drovers. This stretch of road, alongside the stunning Pembrokeshire National Park Coastal Path, is understandably popular for twenty-first century drovers, namely tourists, who flock to the many coastal gems of the national park.

May blog2

These are the roads I intend to explore next as I work my way towards some of the island droving routes such as Ramsey and its links with Tenby, which, similar to Haverfordwest, was a key droving town with its annual livestock market and fair.

Welsh farming dogs past and present

Droves, Drives and Shadow-Play in Haverfordwest

Learn more about the Pembrokeshire Drovers project: https://studiowestorguk.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/pembrokeshire-drovers-blog/

This week I worked with the collections manager Cait Hilditch at Scolton Manor near Haverfordwest http://www.visitpembrokeshire.com/attractions-events/scolton-manor-museum-and-country-park/ exploring their beautifully conserved collection of photographic images of rural and town life in the area. The manor itself is a gem, a snapshot of ‘county Victoriana’: aspirational grandeur set amongst a thriving rural community on the border of what was then the bustling market town of Haverfordwest with its famous annual livestock fair. I also spent a day filming in the town itself, with the assistance of local moving image artist, Anna Smallman, currently studying film at Kingston University. Anna and I choreographed some ‘shadow play’ in the town, catching glimpses of drovers as they passed through the contemporary, and sadly, now somewhat run down, town centre. Many of the buildings in the central zone are architecturally significant but have been boarded up and unused for some time. In many ways Haverfordwest is suffering the same fate of many small towns and cities throughout the UK, with discounted out of town shopping zones effectively wiping out trade in the old High Street areas. The Confluence arts and regeneration project ‘The Lab’ http://www.visitpembrokeshire.com/attractions-events/scolton-manor-museum-and-country-park/ is breathing new life into these neglected areas, where, if you scratch just below the surface, you’ll find traces that are rich in cultural and historical significance. That notion of scratching and rubbing away the surface in order to reveal and re-evaluate the past is a key element of my artistic process and methodology for the Drovers project. But of course once something is peeled back and exposed it requires resurfacing and it is this question of how Haverfordwest and its environs will be renewed that is central to the wider investigation.

Haverfordwest Drover Shadow Void Haverfordwest

Pembrokeshire Drovers – Haverfordwest Livestock Market

Learn more about the Pembrokeshire Drovers project: https://studiowestorguk.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/pembrokeshire-drovers-blog/

March 8th – Haverfordwest Livestock Market

 Da – good, but originally also cattle or goods.

All is not good (dim yn dda) at the Haverfordwest Livestock Market. The site is reportedly up for sale: the end of an era for many local farmers. In its day the market was at the heart of community life for the town and its environs. Although not as famous as the annual Haverfordwest Cattle Market, which attracted buyers and sellers from hundreds of miles away, the weekly market is a kind of litmus paper for the success and sustainability of beef and dairy farming in the area. Having grown up in Texas, and having visited the vast Amarillo Cattle Auction, one of the worlds largest private cattle auctions, the Haverfordwest market is a much more low key affair. The auctioneers and their clientele are clearly well known to one another and there is a constant friendly banter that accompanies the proceedings. They were welcoming and generous with their time, allowing me to wander and film unhindered while proceedings took place. As a former vegetarian who still does not eat any beef products, I’m not well placed to comment on the animals but according to my farming companion there are a wide variety of stocks for sale and on the day I visited we saw British Blues, Herefords and some Welsh Blacks (the main Pembrokeshire breed for the drovers). It would be a great shame if the site is sold and famers forced to abandon what is by any means a financially challenging way of life. Until recently I lived in a rural farming area of South Wales where many of my neighbours were farmers. Living and working the land was deeply ingrained into each family’s relationship with concepts like location, place and belonging. Like the metaphor of the palimpsest, a recurring theme within this project, the marks and traces of each of those generations, the people, buildings, animals, flora and fauna, are laid down, one upon another. But what happens to those traces when the land is abandoned, sold to yet another supermarket chain; what then when all that remains is subsumed by concrete and parking bays.

Haverfordwest Cattle Market

 

Pembrokeshire Drovers Blog – Karen Ingham

Palimpsest dtover-sea road

Palimpsest Road, Pembrokeshire Drovers, 2016

 Karen Ingham, Studio West

WELCOME to the Pembrokeshire Drovers Blog. This is the first entry of the blog, which gives a context for the project. To see how it develops follow the blog entries as they progress in the Archives section. I have completed the initial research for Drovers and as of this month have started work in earnest on this fascinating new project, which is a site-responsive artist’s moving image commission funded by Arts Council Wales and Confluence. Located in Haverfordwest Confluence is a creative collaboration between PLANED, spacetocreate, iDeA Architects, Pembrokeshire County Council and Transition Haverfordwest. Confluence has been awarded funding from Ideas: People: Places, an Arts Council of Wales strategic initiative that seeks to test new models of regeneration and collaboration through the arts. Pembrokeshire Drover is a socially engaged, site responsive moving image artwork that draws on and reflects upon the interrelationships between Haverfordwest and the rural and coastal hinterland it serves. It will be screened and performed in Haverfordwest and Oriel Y Parc St. David’s from July 2016 and will be developed over the coming months with filming taking place between now and June. There will be a series of outdoor screenings and participatory public arts events linked to the project, so watch this space for further announcements.

Friday 26th February. A week of clear light and a day of driving and walking on ancient landscapes and drovers roads around Landshipping along the Daugeleddau estuary to the meeting point of the Eastern and Western Cleddau. Landscapes steeped in history, which require a different view of mapping, not as a socio-political subjective document, but as a layered, nuanced palimpsest. The kind of palimpsest map that Sara Maitland (2012) suggests when she offers the notion of the “double map”, which encompasses time, geography, and imagination, creating a palimpsest of history and “re-creation.” The farmers tracks in this area, some of which can still be followed to Haverfordwest where the original drovers would have taken their livestock to market, are time weathered yet timeless. Multiple tracks and marks on the muddy surfaces offer a manuscript for decoding, with each mark symbolizing a different form and point of passage. Only the heavy tyre tracks of SUV’s and tractors reveal that our contemporary ‘drovers’ rely mostly on four-wheel horsepower rather than the iconic four-legged variety of horse and rider. But it’s not difficult to see faint traces and shadows of the older drovers buried in the tracks, requiring only time and imagination to excavate them, like an archaeological dig, peeling back layers of time and history to create a multi-layered representation of the drovers roads that brings the present into a different field of view.

blog image Feb drover rider shadow 1

February 15th. Another rainy week spent dodging showers. The dismal winter weather is finally beginning to improve but for the past week I have spent more time inside the car than outside and filming is slow at this stage. However, new research into old droving maps of the area is revealing some interesting twists. At present I’m exploring some of the coastal drovers roads that have been all but erased by coastal erosion and sand/dune incursion. Many of these have have now become major tourist walkways and these are the roads, which link Haverfordwest with the wider Pembrokeshire coastal tourist spots, that I’m presently investigating.

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