About smotyn

photographer, artist, curator

Wanting to do some research I unearthed ‘The Book of Skin’ [Connor, Steven; 2004; Reaktion Books Ltd; pub. Great Britain]. I’d started reading this about five years ago, but didn’t have enough reasons for carrying on and ended up putting it aside. The book suddenly makes sense now and so I’ve nearly finished it. The book is largely about the living skin. It touches on so many of the ideas that each of us is dealing with in the Tannery: Ideas of wrapping and enfolding, of psychosis and personal boundaries; of how internal processes become imprinted at the periphery, how they surface in the skin. The author, Steven Connor, says in describing the changes in our historic picturing of the skin that it was ‘First a screen, then a membrane and finally, this book will assume, what Michel Serres calls a milieu: the skin becomes a place of mingling, a mingling of places.’ [p. 26]

I want to suggest that the rooms we are working in at the Tannery are an in-folding of the skin; perhaps a mouth that can speak, perhaps a place associated with labour and toil like a sweaty armpit or possibly we are inviting you into an even more intimate space. We are clothing ourselves in the Tannery and the ghosts of the beasts that have been skinned to make shoes and clothes and books etc. and so far rather than decorating this particular skin we are ghost writing onto the shared skin of the internet.

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. [Genesis 3, verse 21]

A’r Arglwydd Dduw a wnaeth i Adda ac i’w wraig beisiau crwyn, ac a’u gwisgodd am danynt hwy. [Genesis 3, pennill 21]

This quote from Genesis describes the point of transformation of Adam and Eve as they are expelled from the Garden of Eden and enter the world. It could be read as Adam and Eve becoming corporeal, meat and skin. The transition from thought to physical object. From the virtual world, a world of virtue, to a world of good and evil, a world necessarily of compromise.

It seems to be a very pertinent starting point for this show in the Tannery. An exhibition that starts as an idea kicked around through discussions on the internet: a private group on Facebook; the The Rhod blog and Culture Colony in our personal pages and the platforms for Rhod@Melin Glonc and the Tannery. It’s about how ten people can show together and manifest an idea over a period of four weeks.

A bucket kicked around by the artists. It was suddenly strange to be there  to start with the camera recording us. I wanted to create two skins that I could use and take out into Machynlleth and environs and enfold Machynlleth into my skin. In doing this I also wanted to respond to the wrapped stake that the builders had made at Melin Glonc that I have called Efa_ac_Adda. I distributed tape at Owain Glyndwr’s Senedd, the war memorial, a tree stump in the park opposite and the Cylch yr Orsedd [I have thought about revisiting all the Cylch yr Orsedd and rephotographing them, making them touchstones to my associations with their location]. The last use I made of the barrier tape on Tuesday 14th was on some blue alkathene pipes I saw on the way from Machynlleth to New Town / Drenewydd. I had wrapped the tape around a record sleeve, Romeo and Juliet, for ease of applying it and rewinding afterwards.

In working in the Tannery on the Monday I was also interested in distributing barrier tape through the space to see how it could fit into the space and how this worked with the other pieces being installed.