J a n e t M c E w a n
Presented at Left Bank Gallery,
Top image is a self portrait, standing on Marischal Street Aberdeen, taken using a Webcam attached to a local authority building, which I believe was demolished around 2013.
I am the small figure close to the red vehicle.
'Farland' is a body of work, which uses the pre framed and fixed view of existing web cams to consider our shifting and contingent relationship to place. Downloading images from two North East Scotland web cams has provided a route to further ongoing interest and inquiry around the filters colouring and informing our notions of ‘homeland’.
The work for Farland is the result of an exploration, not only of the ways our views of place from a distance can be mediated, but also into where and how the artist is located in the production of the artwork; challenging views of the artist as sole author, through adopting existing material, and participative processes.
‘All the images have been downloaded over the last year from 2 Web cams : one fixed to the clubhouse at the Deeside Gliding Club between Aboyne and Ballater, Aberdeenshire, and the other fixed to the 14th floor of St Nicholas House: a local authority building, in Aberdeen. Both web cams can be viewed over the Internet, and show static views of each location that refresh every 20-30 seconds, 24 hours a day.
While in Cornwall, I began looking at these web cams occasionally to see what the weather was like in the North East, and became interested in the way viewing through the web cam created an opportunity to consider my attachment to the North East, where I had lived continuously for 15 years. I began occasionally downloading some shots and then found myself making a point of looking at the web cams at random times of day. As the camera refreshes the image around twice a minute, subtle visible changes of light, movement and atmospheric conditions, to which the eye normally continually adjusts, became more pronounced. While the camera lens has a history of revealing the overlooked I felt the act of observing these small shifts also enabled me scrutinize the process of my looking, survey my response, and ultimately my relationship with the place.
Eventually, having ambivalences and some discomfort about current use of the web cam for surveillance purposes, I decided to alter my dynamic with the web cams by placing myself in the frame; using them to take self portraits at both locations.
Most of the drawing and many of the final decisions about the work was undertaken over several weeks while staying in Strathdon, Aberdeenshire, at Clashnettie Studio, which gave me the time and space to reacquaint myself with that part of the world.
I would like to thank a number of people for their support during the preparation for this exhibition; Sera Irvine, Helen Denerley, Judith Aylett, Mike Law and the Deeside Gliding Club, Bryony McEwan, Justine and Jack Irvine, Ismet Khawaja, and Sharmila Samant.’ Janet McEwan , 2010.