helms/kavanagh enon lake – landscape that isn’t wild and moody but rather banal and familiar. accessible in fact. can we cut, re-assemble, collage and cut some more? with sound artist jason kavanagh, we had a good go at this: collecting sounds, photographs and sketches of the various stuff people did when not ‘shopping’. the landscape glitched in the meantime, turned linear and folded back on itself. what is it we see?
evidently assumed, looking is often equated not only with seeing but also with understanding. in order to understand we have to look, observe, record and analyse, taking apart the different elements to recombine and preferably in the correct order to reveal meaning and significance.
the hegemony of the visual for such assumed evidence is strong. and nowhere so than if the medium is that of a truthful camera. in sound such evidence is less stringent, less taken-for-granted. however, what we can hear – the sounds that are made and recorded alongside a camera should also provide witness to what evidently is.
enon lake is a body of work that centres on a montage of photography, drawing and sound recordings. the material is collected in fieldwork at one of West of Scotland’s hybrid spaces where deindustrialisation meets all sorts of attempts to instil new growth sectors – often as here tourism and retail. to facilitate such projects, another sort of evidence is required: that of business consultants whose reported evidence inspires policy. or was that the other way round?
the interweaving of photography, the glitches one image produces across software platforms, the careful observation of drawing as well as the operations conducted upon sound files undo and remake the evidence of what it was that we found in our fieldwork. in this process of mediating and reworking, the evidence becomes a thing in and of itself. strangely, so do the spaces that are produced across the UK. just like enon lake.
the layerings seem obvious: people atop of more people, atop of layers of paper: the tarmac, the stones, the hedges, the trees. the water is marked for centuries. familiar lines. and yet there wasn’t any water here on that first national mapping exercise. the landscape so new, so fresh. only 10 years old. and still to stand for the great outdoors, a beech hedge to enframe the basin. the boat to take the tourists, all to facilitate the movement of people from here to there to nowhere.
in all this contemporary familiarity we identify the layers and assume the knowledge of what we see. we hear the layers and again assume a knowledge. the layers are mapped across space: formations that share a name, some history (of migration, land ownership and industrial activity).
welcome to enon lake. the gateway to the great outdoors. have fun.