The Weight of Ants in the World (work in progress 2019 )
The weight of Ants in the World is a multidisciplinary project incorporating archival research, video, text and collaboration with members of the Natural History Society of Northumbria.
It takes as its focus an ancient woodland (Twenty Pound Close) which has survived in the centre of a heavily industrialised area in Gateshead bounded on all sides by factories and industrial units. In the 17th century a waggonway ran through the edge of the wood transporting coal to the Tyne for export to London, coal continued to run along this line for a further 300 years until the 1960s. The movement of coal around this area of Gateshead was so profitable and significant that some historians now consider that Whickham was the worlds first industrial community,
The work sets out to consider the woodland as a witness to industrialisation, at a time when biodiversity is increasingly under pressure due to climate change and our continued reliance on fossil fuels. The work is conceived as a video installation incorporating footage shot over the course of a year in the woodland combined with readings from archival texts relating to natural history, and lists of wildlife identified on site throughout the course of the project.
In addition to this creative work I am also working with ecologists to identify more of the wildlife on site and to place tree preservation orders on all of the trees in the wood. As a result of the project the site has been surveyed and designated as a Local Wildlife Site and material related to the project has been added to the archives of the Natural History Society.