Search
  • Clare Archibald

this is not an essay


My abiding memory of working with Kinbrae on our Birl of Unmap album (more news of which in a separate post soon) will be Andy's mantra of "you don't need to write an essay though Clare". Sometimes I listen, sometimes I don't. Not that listening is enough mind you but that's also another post. I've been meaning to make mailing list posts for ages, partly as a way to not have to promote work on social media and just have it as a fun thing and partly in an attempt to have a space that isn't reliant on social media and thereby reduce excuses to myself to be there. These are slightly incompatible reasonings so I'm still working it out. I didn't start as planned as I ended up using my 'blog page' space on my website for required practice reflection posts for the Postgraduate MSc I did in 2019/20, I've now archived all that so am attempting to start again. This is just a quick round up of some stuff that I've been working on/am about to be working on


If you know and like my photographs of the transmitter at the top of the hill behind my house then there is a series of them with some added words by me in the current issue (2) of Oscillations Journal . My piece also contains some illustrations of my photography by Tommy Perman who also did the design layout and editing. All profits go to Water Aid and it is a really beautiful publication that I'm very happy to be in.



Although I'm not from Burntisland my work has, and continues to explore various aspects of it, and for a small place it's given me a lot to work with both personally and professionally. In June I found out quite unexpectedly that an album I was on was due to be released. In 2015 I left a voicemail message for Grasscut about a place that meant something to me in response to their call-out. I sat on my beach looking over to Inchkeith island and just said what I thought really. It's a place I've written about in many ways and I have thousands of images of it. It has a remarkable history for such a small island and many aspects of it have, and still do haunt me. How serendipitous then that my slightly garbled voicemail ended up on an album called Haunts 6 years later. Between leaving the message and the album coming out I did actually (after previously being refused permission to go on my own) get to to visit Inchkeith. I went in late 2019 when the seals had hauled up and I can still see and hear them. I will go back again once I've finished writing the work of nonfiction that it all relates to. My friend Susan is also on it and only remembered about her voicemail when she heard herself when listening to Gideon Coe on BBC 6 Music. Another friend Martin thought he was hallucinating when he heard me on the radio when Gideon Coe played the Inchkeith track just as he drifted off to sleep. I like these hauntings. Grasscut made a video to go with their track which you can watch below:


A sea buoy recorded on the Isle of Skye provided the rhythm for the track and I really love that connection and their composition as a whole.



(image copyright Robyn J Mclennan 2021)

I was recently commissioned to produce what turned out to be a really successful site specific sound installation in Galloway Forest Dark Skies Park for Sanctuary Lab under my Lone Women guise. You can find out more about "if trees were lone women what would they sound like" here. I learned a lot on different levels from doing this and it genuinely felt like a privilege to take so many unaltered voices and expressions to play from the trees.

I'm currently speaking to various people about doing different iterations of it in a few different places which is really exciting and giving me lots to think about in terms of what's possible . If it's something you'd be interested in commissioning or co-producing then please get in touch.


Finally because this is not an essay I'll just say that I have a few things coming up. One thing that I can talk about now is a collaboration with Folkestone based artist Matt James Healy. Over the next 6 months we'll be working together on " when the lights of night bow down with echoed reverence", a series of paintings, photographs, words and sounds focusing on our shared interest in feelings, light, experimentation and transformation.