Skynasoars receive some strange but always interesting commissions. We have built lightweight windsocks with internal lights – for an evening event on the veranda at George Cinque Hotel in Paris; an array of hanging banners , to be viewed as a Scottish tartan, from the top of a stairway – for a leisure centre in Edinburgh and multi -hooped windsocks for a dynamic sculpture for the Eden Project. In our our early days we also designed perhaps hundreds of flags, with fluted or contoured edges, with outlines of animal and cartoon characters. But the latest commission was more demanding of our creativity and manufacturing skills than all of them.
With barely two weeks to design and build, and little time to test, or even visit the location, the commission from Louise Ann Wilson company was for twenty 6-7 m flags in white, for an installation in the Trough of Bowland.
Bowland Forest, having an area of 315 sq miles is situated on the eastern edge of Lancashire, bordering the M6, from Longbridge to Clitheroe in the south, to Settle and Carnforth to the east and north, and is designated as an area of outstanding beauty. The Trough itself is a high valley, following the route of Losterdale Brook; popular with walkers and cyclists, but also known for its bird life – and its extreme winds !
Ghost Bird was a beautifully-crafted walk and live art installation specific to an upland valley in the Trough of Bowland, a landscape internationally important for its heather moorland, blanket bog and rare birds.
Following a pathway into into the upper reaches of the valley, audiences were invited to walk onto the moorland. Continuing in silence, they discovered installations and interventions made from the materials of the place that were inspired by the landscape and in particular the Hen Harrier.
Here they took time to look, listen and reflect on the environment around them.
Referring to the ghostly grey feathers of the male Harrier and the absence this year of nesting pairs in the Trough of Bowland, Ghost Bird celebrated the beauty of the Hen Harrier and drew attention to their sometimes fragile existence within the North of England. In doing so, the work also became a means of reflecting on the journey taken 400 years ago over the Bowland Fells to Lancaster Castle by the Pendle Witches.
Ghost Bird was the latest project by the internationally-celebrated artist Louise Ann Wilson, known most recently for the walking performances, Jack Scout (2010) and Fissure (2011). In this new small-scale piece, installations and acts of live performance combine to create a unique walking experience set within a stunning upland landscape.
Ghost Bird was created by Louise Ann Wilson with choreography by Nigel Stewart of Sap Dance, and was performed by dance artist Julia Griffin and a team of 30 life-models.
Ghost Bird was produced by Louise Ann Wilson Company Ltd and commissioned by Green Close for the Lancashire Witches 400 programme. It was a Live at LICA co-commission.
Photos by the Manual Vason Studio. Thanks to Peter Reed for much of the copy of this blog, and negotiating the rights to use the photos.
For more information about Louise Ann Wilson Company, please visit: www.louiseannwilson.com
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