Modern Hellespont

Modern Hellespont - video  Video
Modern Hellespont - video

This footage was shot at the Ideal Home exhibition and then re-edited. I am still fascinated by the endless character of the swimmer's endeavour, something that connects to some of my earlier performance works exploring the nature of tasks, often domestic in character, which of necessity must be repeated time and time again.

The other aspect of this piece by which I am preoccupied is the design of the pool itself - shaped to enhance the artificially generated current against which the swimmer is pitted, it has a geological dimension to it and has I think subliminally influenced both the work I am now doing with sea bed mapping and also the architectural models that form part of the submersion series.

The approach of the crowd to the edge of the tank, conjurers up the image of a 19th century fairground attraction, featuring the 'maiden in the tank', or something similar.

Hellespont is the former name of the Dardanelles, the strait of water that separates Europe from Asia. Legend has it that Leander would swim across nightly to meet with his beloved Hero who would light a lamp at the top of her tower to guide his way. One night the wind blew out Hero's light and Leander was drowned. Hero threw herself from the tower in grief and died as well. The poet, Lord Byron became the first known person to swim the Hellespont in 1810.


Tails - my father told me

  • Interactive animation
  • Video - clip
Commissioned by Radiator, Nottingham 2002 Video
Commissioned by Radiator, Nottingham 2002

This group of works, in which I made myself into a swarm, follows on from a number of others: Avid Metamorphosis I and II, Shrinking the Miniature and Hidden Seas /Surface Waters, that touch upon the possibility of re-negotiating the limits of the body/self.

Hidden Seas/ Surface Waters

  • Video
Hidden Seas/ Surface Waters
Performance for camera, 1999 - Duration 11 minutes

Drawing on family experience of physical disability Hidden Seas / Surface Waters attempted to articulate a body of difference, whose boundaries remain physiologically and psychologically fluid, inverting the characteristic function of light as a source of 'illumination'.

The use of silhouettes within the work references the 18th century physiognomic experiments of James Lavater, who attempted to read from the profile of his sitters their moral and spiritual 'nature'.

Supported by a London Arts Board - London Hybrids Research and Development Award.

Production support Irish Museum of Modern Art and Arthouse, Dublin.
Residency and screening: Irish Musueum of Modern Art, Dublin. 1999
Exhibited, Spacex, Exeter. 2003