The Sea The Sails and the White White Blades

Dounreay&CreelBoat_18cm_300ppiTimespan’s Artist in Residence Stephen Hurrel  hitched a ride on a lobster boat as well as  one of Dounreay Nuclear Power Station’s Hill Cats.

Exhibition exploring northern seascapes premieres at Timespan 

Running from 2 to 31 August at Timespan Gallery in north east coastal village of Helmsdale, The Sea The Sails and the White White Blades, is an immersive three-screen video installation by artist Stephen Hurrel which explores our evolving relationship with the sea and its potential futures.

Echoed in the title of the exhibition is a reference to the ground breaking play The Cheviot the Stag and The Black Black Oil that presented controversial Highland issues, such as The Clearances, in dramatic form.

Hurrel’s new work is an artistic response to the north-east coast of Scotland at this current point in its history and is made against the backdrop of the recent approval for a major off-shore wind farm in the Outer Moray Firth.  Consisting of 326 wind turbines it will become the third largest off-shore wind farm in the world.

Hurrel, who works with video, sound, sculpture and words to explore relationships between people and places, has developed this new exhibition during his summer residency at Timespan.

In his pursuit to explore different types of marine-related industries in the area, he has hitched lifts on a variety of vessels and vehicles. This included a trip on a fishing boat where, with the help of a local creel-fisherman, he installed a waterproof video camera inside a lobster creel, and dropped it into the sea to record its journey.

Tying into his interest in exploring a wide range of North Sea related industries, the artist also hitched a ride on one of Dounreay Nuclear Power Station’s Hill Cats which is undertaking a clean up operation of small radioactive particles on the nearby beach at Sandside Bay.

“The film takes the form of a three-screen video and sound installation, incorporating sculptural and found objects,” explains Stephen, who graduated in Fine Art from The Glasgow School of Art in 1989. “It is a direct response to Helmsdale and the north-east coast of Scotland at this point in time but imagines it from a future perspective.

“So for example it looks back at how each new innovation in energy production, such as nuclear and oil industries, promised a bright new future, just as the renewable energy industries are doing now.

“The installation collapses time and place to explore these ideas of innovation and progress relating to industries of the sea, and locates these activities within the ongoing cycles of nature, local fishing traditions and possible futures.”

Join Stephen at the opening and premiere of The Sea, the Sails, and the White, White Blades on Friday 1st August at 6pm in Timespan Gallery.

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