Truthing Gap

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Truthing Gap
Submersion Dive Training Centre - Oban 2005

Between 2008-10 I was Leverhulme Trust, Artist in Residence at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, one of the world's top five oceanographic research institutions, working with sonar geophysicist Dr Tim Le Bas exploring methods of seabed mapping and undersea survey.

The deep seabed constitutes the largest, yet least known environment on the planet, one that is currently subject to rapidly accelerating economic, political and ecological pressures. Problems of depth and visibility mean that undersea surveys are conducted using sonar rather than optically, a circumstance that might be said to place the deep ocean 'beyond' the post enlightenment drive of science to render the world as observable phenomena.

Technically the term 'truthing gap' refers to the necessity to verify sonar data with other findings, here it refers the play of myth, imagination and objectivity, involved in envisaging environments that cannot be directly experienced, probing issues of knowledge production, perception and the nature of the scientific gaze. The work of Dr Le Bas and his colleagues seeks to minimize the challenges posed by such locations to attempts to map them, painstakingly cleaning and re-modeling raw data to achieve recognizable forms. For me this difficulty and the visual practices to which it gives rise are fascinating.


See also That Oceanic Feeling

Calenture - Land Use Poetics


Calenture  - a heat induced fever; in sailors it can produce a form of delusion whereby the sea is thought to be land, causing them to jump overboard in a kind of ecstatic delirium.

This work was made during Land Use Poetics, an intensive four day cross-disciplinary workshop exploring land use, involving ten international artists and researchers.

Through different forms of spatial engagement – bus tours, walks, gathering specimens, study visits and discussions – the traces and dislocated meanings of the landscape between Malmö and Lund, Sweden, a terrain upon which historically agriculture, shipping, and industry, have left an indelible imprint, along with contemporary activities related to, for example, leisure and waste disposal, was explored, scrutinized and mapped out,

The ‘findings’ arrived at were exhibited in The Museum of Sketches, Lund, Sweden March 22-30

My starting point was the proposition that I should swim ‘blind’ in a number of local swimming pools. The sound that can be heard on the video records the moment when, having walked with my eyes closed to the end of the diving board at Pilangsbadet swimming pool, I jumped ‘blind’ in to the water.

The work might be understood in relation to ideas of the sublime. By closing my eyes the ordering capacities of vision are suspended, occasioning a new sensory awareness of the capacity of water to trouble any attempt to fix or map its surface.


  • Banff - Storms
  • Banff - Nightpool
  • The Submersion Series

These images were made in 2007 during a residency on the theme of 'imaginary Places' at Banff Arts Centre, Canada. They are primarily concerned with the ambiguous nature of the water's surface.

As compared to the first set of images in the submersion series - shot at Tair Lair tidal pool in Scotland - in which a female figure offers a counterpoint to the landscape, suggestive of an interior space, here the body of the viewer provides an echo for the emptiness of the pool.