Torchlight Tour

Phoebe Hayes

March 9th, 2021 4:41 min read 1289 words

Torchlight Tour is a collection of night-time site-specific art works. I invited seven artists and designers to capture night scenes and explore our different working methods and practices, illuminated by our torches.

This project began with a postal exchange, to form a haptic connection which defies the distance of its makers. I created an invitation package with a set of instructions. This package included: an invitation, a tealight, a text about writing at night-time, a screenshot from my phone of a note I made in the middle of the night and a poem entitled ‘air talk’ which discusses distance. I physically posted these out allow them to get to know me through my practice. I have my most thought provoking ideas at night-time and my work is usually in the landscape involving site specificity. I wanted to give the artists an insight in to what it feels like to work at night and the different variables that come into play when working outdoors.

In the current climate of coronavirus, many of us in first year have not had the chance to meet or work together. This quasi-physical way of connecting to students in our cohort originated with fellow student Anya Landolt, to create ‘invitations to exhibit in an envelope’ which would allow us to get to know each other through a postal exchange.

The works shown below were developed between December 2020 and March 2021 as part of Torchlight Tours, and supported by the Content Free editorial team. I aim to carry out this exhibition when it is safe to do so, with wild lectures and workshops by torch-light, government permitting. Light a candle as we exhibit the outcomes from the participants, who are spotlighted or torch lighted if you will.

Nayonika Ghosh
Apparatus: LED torchlight with RGB colours, a phone with camera
Scale: -∞ to +∞
Time: 21.24 BST
Environment: park

Is colour subjective? Is it objective? How 
is coloured light different from coloured pigment? How do we experience one colour against another? I decided to take this opportunity of a Torchlight Tour to experiment with coloured light. Inspired by the works of Carlos Cruz Diez and Josef Albers, I wished to carry out a simple experiment to understand interactions between colours. I flashed the torchlight on the grass in all the 3 colours. Then, clicked one image of each coloured light (red, green, blue respectively) against the surface of the grass. On observing each image for 1 minute in isolation, I infer that the red appears raised, while the blue appears lower and the green appears in line with the ground, respectively. Can colour be objective after all?

Andrea Siso Corrales
Apparatus: torch, a phone with camera
Scale: -∞ to +∞
Environment: street, full moon

The works I photographed are collages I made during open studios. I had made them hoping to use them to send them to people in a kind of sharing a piece of artwork chain. But now that I’ve been out with them on a walk I’ve ended up becoming attached to them, so they are on my wall by my desk. I’m not as much of a night owl anymore since coronavirus, as I try to wake up early. When I used to work late into the night, I found I would become extra sentimental about the work I made. It’s like there’s something about the darkness of night time which allows space for a certain vulnerability. A certain kind of bonding.

Laura Gordon
Apparatus: torch, a phone with camera
Scale: -∞ to +∞
Time: 19.56 GMT
Environment: car park

I’d never worked with textiles before, but they are what sparks joy for me during lockdown. It calms me, brings immense satisfaction, and connects me to my granny and to her mum who worked with fabric throughout their lives.

Anya Landolt
Apparatus: torch, a phone with camera, street lamp
Scale: -∞ to +∞
Environment: park

My image is of my notebooks, an integral part of my practice they are the only persistent element that accompany my varying explorations. I have kept all my notebooks throughout my life, stacked on the shelves of my parental home are my childhood diaries and planners from primary through to secondary school. Not too long ago I found my prefect notebook from year 6, where I had written a note to report a student for ignoring my instruction to walk on the correct side of the stairs.

For a short period of time I kept notes on my phone under the title ‘words’, they were a collection of thoughts and poems I recorded on my year abroad. I sadly noticed the other day that although I thought I had saved it to ‘the cloud’ it no longer exists - it felt like a contemptuous comment from my physical books, punishing me for betraying their trust.

I can’t help myself when I see a note in a book in a charity shop - I have to buy it. More often than not the book never gets read, but there is something really powerful to me about looking back on a handwritten note, a moment frozen in time that will not move from its place, it becomes a portal between me and them, sharing an object and a thought.

Ella Schlesinger
Apparatus: a phone with a camera
Scale: -∞ to +∞
Environment: park

This is a ceramic candelabra I made when I felt I needed to make something with my hands in 2020. A poem I wrote for this piece:
They feel near,
Hanging on grass,
As they slip.
Rolling on down,
The eternal line,
Of our roots.

Niamh Thompson
Apparatus: a phone
Scale: -∞ to +∞
Time: 21.23, 13.35 GMT
Environment: phone in hand

I make notes at midnight and look at my phone in the morning and realise they make no sense.

Phoebe Hayes
Apparatus: torch, a phone with camera
Scale: -∞ to +∞
Time: 18.56 GMT
Environment: garden

My Torchlight Tour is a washing line window into my practice. I have my most thought provoking ideas at night time. This is a page from a book titled Objects of a Life by Anne Tallentire and is a book I read in the evening. She is an artist and writer who addresses shifting geographies and working practices of the displaced, which are some of the concepts I am considering in my work. The page that is open says ‘the tree outside the window casts a shadow that marks the surface.’ This image visualises this idea and taking this book outdoors gives a new meaning and understanding to this page. She goes on to talk about how you cannot conceal what occurs in a given place and I feel this is explored in my image where I am giving light and illuminating the work, disguising nothing, revealing everything. She discusses applying the principle of spontaneity within the constraints of a given structure and I find working outdoors and at night-time speaks volumes to this, as you cannot see without a torch or street lamp so end up dropping things or stumbling over rocks to take your image, which adds to the work and process.

Going forward, I hope to curate midnight meanders through the forest, wild outdoor lectures and workshops/readings by torchlight.

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