I'm a Scottish writer & poet living in Burntisland on the Fife coast I like to try stuff out & to learn by just following my interests. I use text, still & moving images, sound and materials in my work. I tend to think of it as stuff that is all part of the same process of inquiry. I have been commissioned to read/perform/exhibit my work at arts and literary festivals, comedy clubs, car parks, art galleries and in the woods, across the UK and beyond. Much of my work responds as process and in form to living in Burntisland (pronounced as two words) and its spaces of between as an island that is not an island.
I am interested in articulation, non-cathartic expression, embodied spaces, place, movement, simultaneity and time (and in the intersections and gaps between all of these, and points of transformation). I coined a phrase "the applicable tenses of" that I have used in various iterations as the title for written pieces and photographs and it perhaps best exemplifies what I am trying to work out, without fully knowing what that is. Maybe the multiple selves/realities that collide in the moment? I have no great plan and am driven by interest and hopefully a sense of more than me, despite much of my work emanating from experience. I like the dreamscape of frank yet elusive truths, nuance and the blur of imperfection. I also like transformation by light and dark, concrete, graffiti, the sea, ferns, caravans, car parks, dogs, and other people's windows yet dislike tropes. I have collaborated with a range of musicians, artists and writers in making work and have also produced several pieces in creative dialogue, site specific experience and collaboration with the wider public in the UK and internationally on a range of ideas from gig going to darkness.
Although I have organised some examples into sections here, much of my work as a writer exists across and between. The most recent being Birl of Unmap, my collaborative album with Kinbrae (nominated for Scottish Album of the Year, and chosen as one of the top 100 essential albums of this year by The Quietus) for which I conceived, researched, wrote, performed, played, arranged, provided field recordings, directed other input and drew the art card accompanying the limited edition CD.
I had my first fiction piece, Foot-binding, published in 2013, at 43, in Push, a limited edition sold on the street lit mag, (alongside writers such as Jenni Fagan and David Peace) and have since been published in print and online in a diverse range of UK and international publications including Gorse, and the Stinging Fly (where my piece, Parallel of Past Imperfect, was commissioned and edited by Sally Rooney) and academic presses such as of Manchester University and Cornell/Leuven University I also took part in Poettrio, a collaborative writing as transIation project at the University of Newcastle. I also have had writing as text and voice installed as part of the 2015 Project Afterbirth exhibition at the White Moose Gallery in Devon.
I was chosen to read my fiction The Sweetie Wife at Edinburgh International Book Festival's Storyshop for emerging writers in 2014 (later runner up in the Hysteria Prize). My first piece of nonfiction work, Meandering Route of the Muscle Memories, was chosen for inclusion in the Book Week Scotland anthology in 2015. My text also exists off the page in various ways.
In 2016 I was long-listed in the international experimental nonfiction prize run by the Lifted Brow/RMIT in Australia (judged by Dodie Bellamy, Kate Zambreno & Helen MacDonald) for When Flakes of Ash Fall and Melt Into Water, a section of The Absolution of Shyness, my hybrid sequence of experimental autobiographical work exploring articulation, expected neonatal death, place, connection, craft and what of the private we make public and why. The Absolution of Shyness incorporates text, images, video, sound, paintings and objects and is iterative in form. Some sections are currently available, others will be when the work as a whole is made public in forthcoming installation/release/print. I was funded by Scottish Books International in September 2022 to undertake concluding experiential research for the Absolution of Shyness in Bologna, Italy. I was also funded to be able to take up of the offer of a multidisciplinary guest writer place at Write Toscana in order to conclude the Absolution of Shyness.
I have also written and performed stand up comedy and have written articles, reviews and undertaken interviews for music journals including The Quietus and Gold Flake Paint.
Much of my image based work ensues from repetitive looking and being in the place (s) and spaces of Burntisland and the between spaces of the everyday real and imagined of there and elsewhere. I have had my photography and moving image work commissioned/exhibited in the UK and Ireland and have also been invited to speak about my text and image practice at academic conferences such as the Digital Re-enchantment Conference run by Manchester Metropolitan University in 2016 and as art of the Architecture Fringe in Edinburgh, 2018. I was commissioned by the Not Quite Light Festival in Salford in 2018 and 2019. A series of images was commissioned by writer/editor Jenn Ashworth for Lune Journal, a journal of experimental writing. Soma Gosh interviewed me about my text and image practice for the Demented Goddess magazine in which I also have text and image work on my filmmaking process.
Memories of Contort, 2019 (stills, video and spoken word) was commissioned by Gorse/The Pickled Body and installed in the Illuminations Gallery at Maynooth University, Ireland as part of the Form Ever Follows Function exhibition. I also composed and performed the sound.
I made my 21 minutes artist moving image installation Can You Hear the Interim (2020) as part of a postgraduate MSc in experimental Filmmaking and Media Arts at Glasgow University, graduating with first class distinction in December 2020. I have also published writing in relation to this process and am considering further practice led PhD research. I've also produced a series of large scale related paintings and made some objects.
I published a selection from my series of Transmitter/Transformation photographs of the Craigkelly transmitter on the Binn (hill), Burntisland in my work 'in the to and fro of unknown dialogue there are component truths' in issue 2 of Oscillations Journal. Accompanied by text, the photographs exemplify my love of blur, transformation by weather and darkness, points of in between, and repetitive looking from a point in place and the layers of before.
Text and image work, Ghost Trains of Lockdown, relating to empty trains passing through Burntisland during the pandemic was commissioned by Chroma Editions for From Tarmac to Towpath: Excursions Into Lockdown
In 2021 I was invited to make a 1 min 15 secs experimental film, Swallow, about my fridge for a collage work by women from 3 continents curated by writer /artist Susanna Crossman and shown at Carthorse Orchestra, an online literary and philosophical salon run by David Collard on 19th June 2021.
I have a pamphlet of text and images forthcoming with Gorse Editions in 2023
Having worked a lot with spoken word I have been increasingly interested in working with sound, making several pieces over the years such as filmpoems in collaboration with others. I undertook an ecoacoustics residency with composers/sound artists Annea Lockwood and Leah Barclay in 2019, following an initial self led residency at Camp in France in 2018 which led to me producing my first non collaborative sound work, Confluence, a combination of words, field recordings and improvised piano (currently private).
I have since composed/designed and performed the sound for Can You Hear the Interim (2020) using electronics, field recordings, harmonium, piano and harmonica. In 2020 I also released a soundscape (field and binaural recordings, spoken word), Memory of Unrepeat (Slow Notes for Voegelin) as part of a the Slow Notes series by Broken 20 records.
I created my first sound only piece (without words), We Were Never Real, for the Dark Outside broadcast as part of Aerial Festival in 2020. Prior to this I created a spoken word/harmonica piece for The Dark Outside as part of the Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture event in 2019. I also contributed a track, Acts of Unsay, to the Biblioptapes/The Dark Outside album Diary Of a Madman, a fundraiser for Ukraine in 2022. My track 'night lull in asteroids of human' appears on the Peace and Plenty compilation from blackford Hill Audio. A Closer Listen reviewed and said:
In September 2021 I originated and produced "if trees were lone women what would they sound like", my site specific sound installation commissioned by Sanctuary Lab, a public engagement work that brought together the sounds, music and words of 141women from 5 continents around the world in the trees of Galloway Forest.
Birl of Unmap a Help Musicians Fusion Funded album with Scottish composers Kinbrae is my collaborative response to St Ninian's, a former mining site/ Charles Jencks land art site near Kelty in Fife. Released on 11th February 2022 by Full Spectrum Records in the US and The Dark Outside in the UK, on tape and CD, the album was critically acclaimed with widespread radio play across the BBC, KEXP, and a host of experimental and community stations in the UK, US and around the world, with the CD and UK tape selling out within 48 hours. In addition to originating the album and track concepts, writing, speaking, singing and arranging my own and other voices, I also originated and researched track concepts (other than track 4), directed and arranged the words of other voices included according to my concepts/questions, and titled the album and all tracks. I provided field recordings on Carbide Fizz and Half Seen Truths of the M90, play harmonium on the opening and closing tracks and spinning top on Undersouls. I undertook all research and oral history recording and (re)arranged tracks 1,2, 3, 6 and 8 in relation to music initially arranged by Kinbrae. Birl of Unmap was performed live at the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh on 27th April, 2022 as part of James Yorkston's Tae Sup series and there was a special edition t short collaboration with 1 of 100. (reviews and interviews page up soon)
" What sets Birl of Unmap is the voices...It’s a beautifully arranged work, with full credit to Clare Archibald for allowing space for the contributors but keeping the voices embedded in the music rather than sitting on top. It’s her research and recordings that give Birl Of Unmap a historical heft, the real sense of location and time" A Closer Listen, 2022
"There is no single word evocation of a place, of the situation, of its people,” says Clare Archibald on ‘Excavate Of Other (The Unknowing)'. It serves as a frisson inducing modus operandi for Birl Of Unmap, her new collaboration with Kinbrae. Co-released by Texas’ Full Spectrum Records and Scotland’s The Dark Outside, the tape sees the trio use poetry, fragments of testimony and a lilting soundtrack of strings, brass and earthy atmospherics to decode what turns a space into a place" The Quietus, 2022
In addition to field recording over the last few years I've been exploring instruments, electronic composition, and song-writing.
I am working on a solo album and have several solo tracks forthcoming with different labels. I will also be releasing the score to my artist moving image work Can You Hear the Interim
I am currently working on a range of projects across the various disciplines that I do stuff in but am always open to ideas so please feel free to contact me.
I'm still finishing stuff. This is not a shop window nor even a window to my soul. Though I may be selling some prints here soon.
I also founded & co-ordinate Lone Women in Flashes of Wilderness project and have undertaken various commissions including Sanctuary Lab Visual Arts, the Not Quite Light Festival. I was commissioned as part of the first ever London Borough of Culture celebrations in Waltham Forest 2019, to design and led the first ever all women night walk in Epping Forest.
All words, sounds & images are copyright to me unless otherwise stated. If you would like to use any please just ask me.
Ideas of place, the forgotten, the disarray of unknown
Ideas & interactions of movement & expression, can you hear the interim
Ideas of inside and out, in patterns of embed