Part 1. Project 3. Exercise 2: Developing Your Research Skills

In this exercise I was directed to look at the work of Katie Paterson, I was directed to particularly look at her website featuring her iceberg project and to listen to the extract at the bottom of the page.

When I visited this website I found that the sound extract was not functional. Reading the page as directed I found that it was about a phone line installed on an iceberg at Vatnajokull, the idea was that for one year anyone from around the world could phone the iceberg and hear it melting.

How would you define this piece in terms of media?

I would define this piece as an interactive sound installation.

Unlike Longplayer (Project 2) this is a genuinely site-specific piece. Make notes on this and also on Vatnajokulls relationship to place and Patersons use of text.

This piece is obviously site-specific, it’s linked to a particular iceberg. Vatnajokull is a place which normally would be inaccessible except to the few. By adding a phone line in, this has now become accessible to anyone on the planet (for the one year that the artwork was operational). By allowing people to phone the iceberg, Paterson is empowering them to generate their own sense of place and project it towards the idea of Vatnajokull without ever having visited, much the same way that people do with books that they read. Imagination can be a powerful tool.

 I could not see any use of text in the reports and pictures which I could locate about Patersons project, so I am assuming that this relates to her other work?

I inspected her website and could not find any examples of her work using text. What I did find (on a broader search) was a video about an exhibition in which her work was to be placed beside that of William Turner. 

paterson, k. (2019). [image] Available at: [Accessed 18 Jul. 2019].

Within this video there were several phrases displayed in large letters by themselves on walls coated in a variety of textures. From their positioning they look as though they too are features of the exhibition as opposed to supporting elements. Possibly this is what the course workbook is referring too? The phrases were;

 “The scent of rain left on the moon”

“The speed of light slowed to absolute stillness”

“a drawing made from the ashes of stars”

“the surface of the moon sculpted onto white cliffs” I’ve got quite a vivid imagination, so I find all of these phrases pretty compelling without any further input. My favourite is “The scent of rain left on the moon”. It really tickles my imagination. It makes me think of the smell of earth and grass after rain which in turn takes me back to a variety of locations and therefore that phrase has given me a sense of place. The same could be said of “a drawing made from the ashes of stars”, it brings to mind the stars, the solar system, the Sun, and as the mind wanders back towards Earth…a sense of place in the Solar System. I’m finding ‘place’ a lot easier to relate to than ‘time’.


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