We began a new series of video works, Fields; combining landscape images with digital ‘glitching’ techniques, on our English odyssey through the Oxfordshire countryside.
To celebrate the end of our fifth birthday celebrations, Absent but not Forgotten revisited our Thirteenfridays project, initiated in 2013, in which we celebrated Friday 13th with thirteen themed meals.
Our very first exhibition was in The Last Gallery in Llangadog, Carmarthenshire in 2010 so we prevailed once again on Mick and Julie Ann at the the gallery to host a finale meal for our 2015 events.
We invited thirteen guests to join us on Friday 13 November to enjoy a feast of thirteen. November the 13th is also the saints day for Homobonus – patron saint of shoemakers amongst other things, which is particularly relevant to our location – an ex-cobblers shop.
We started the evening by welcoming our guests in from the cold with a Swedish glögg – warm spiced fruit juices, fruits and nuts and a tot of Absolut vodka: Red grape juice, apple juice, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, star anise, ginger root, almonds, raisins, prunes, orange quarters, sugar, vodka.
We also served a platter of 13 Anti-Christi appetisers: Black olives, green olives, sun dried tomatoes, roast peppers, bell peppers, cornichons, artichokes, baby beets, silverskin onions, pickled garlic, cherry tomato and cucumber.
The table plan was determined by a lottery of numbered badges which corresponded to a numbered bottle of home-brewed country wine at each place. During the evening we swapped and tasted each to try and guess the flavours – one each of: Plum & Damson, Elderflower, White & Blackcurrant, Meadowsweet, Grape, Lemon, Elderberry, Lavender, Elderberry & Blackberry, Kiwi Fruit, Blackcurrant, Marigold, Blackberry.
13 ingredient tabouleh – Bulgar wheat, stock, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, parsley, mint, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, salt, pepper
13 mini egg tortilla – Caramelised red onion and goats cheese and stilton, spinach and baby tomato
13 chilli lime prawn kebabs
13 hallumi & fig crostini – garnished with pomegranate and fresh coriander leaves
13 vegetable, sage and Parmesan pasties
13 ingredient winter slaw – carrots, fennel bulb, radishes, celeriac, white cabbage, red cabbage, red onion, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, dill , Greek yoghurt, mustard, black pepper
13 ingredient superfood salad – sweet potatoes, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, quinoa, broccoli, walnuts, pomegranate, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mixed sprouts, fresh coriander, avocado
13 ingredient Mediterranean vegetable tart – olive oil, onion, garlic, aubergine, courgette, red pepper, goats cheese, Parmesan, tomatoes, capers, smoked paprika, flour, butter
13 ingredient lentil loaf – lentils, egg, olive oil, garlic, onion, vegetable stock, green pepper, carrot, celery, thyme, bay leaves, smoked paprika, cracked pepper
13 wild salmon fillets with tomato salsa
13 ingredient bean & brown rice salad – Short grain brown rice, black beans, red onion, garlic, red pepper, kidney beans, grated carrot, lettuce leaves, baby plum tomatoes, parsley, cucumber, caraway seeds, sesame seeds
13 couscous stuffed peppers
13 pieces of rosemary focaccia
During the evening we projected a series of film clips onto the gallery wall which included dining scenes from 13 black and white horror films
Roger (one of our guests) commented:
“I think I ate all thirteen cakes, cracking. What a delightful sugar high. The company was wonderful and the food. I ate a focaccia that was the very apogee of human baking. When art and stomachs mingle…”
The tradition of thirteen to dinner carries with it a curse – the first to leave the table is the first to die. To mitigate this sting in the tail a 14th place must be laid for an unseen guest – our unseen guest dined in the window of The Last Gallery.
Thank you to our lovely guests for their company, to Mick and Julie Ann Sheridan at The Last Gallery for hosting us and Kirsten Hinks for three straight days of cooking.
We are really pleased that CCQ Magazine have published an article about the Absent but not Forgotten project on their website. Written by Kirsten Hinks, who has seen the project develop from its first iteration at The Last Gallery in 2010, the article takes a really interesting view on the underlying themes of ABNF.
We really enjoyed Radio 3’s The Essay in the week leading up to Halloween. Novelist, Andrew Martin shared his thoughts about ghosts and ghost stories in five 15 minute episodes called The Further Realm – his introduction was particularly pertinent for Absent but not Forgotten:
“Anyone who has the dubious pleasure of getting to know me is likely to be asked at some point ‘Have you ever seen a ghost?’. It is not something to be asked of doctrinaire empiricists and sometimes I miscalculate. I once pitched an idea for an article about an apparent haunting to an editor I thought I saw eye-to-eye with, ‘Sorry’ he replied, ‘we are a ghost free zone’. I should have guessed, because he’s also a humour free zone. I’ve never heard from him since. I suppose he assumes I believe in ghosts, which to his mind is like believing in fairies.
Do I believe in ghosts? I certainly believe in, that is to say I appreciate ghost stories whether avowedly fictional or purporting to be factual.
The ghost story writer M.R. James once said: ‘I am prepared to consider the evidence and accept it if it satisfies me’ and that goes for me too; and I enjoy considering the evidence.”
Andrew Martin – The Further Realm: Episode 1 – Radio 3 The Essay first broadcast Monday 26 October 2015
Absent but not Forgotten travelled into England for an evening of screenings and discussion at Oxford’s ‘Old Fire Station’ over the weekend. Spectral Landscapes explored the representation of landscape – specifically the “English Eerie” – in film, music, and art.
Whilst staying in Oxfordshire we went on a bit of a road trip filming in the landscape for a series of new video works we hope to develop over the coming months. The series will explore similar themes about the permeability of landscape as a spectral phenomenon; the slippage and spillage of history, place and existence into and through itself.
Robert Macfarlane‘s article The Eeriness of the English Landscape in The Guardian earlier in the year touches on some of the contemporary and historical references coalescing around the subject.
For Made in Roath 2015, Absent but not Forgotten were lucky enough to be able to work with Rose Street Flea Market to install existing work as part of the festival on 11 October and will also be undertaking a mini ‘residency’ in the building on 7 & 8 November.
For 11 October we started to get a feel for the location having met with proprietor, Frank a few times to chat about the flea market and his experiences of being in the building over the last 4 years.
The flea market is an amazing warren of objects collected together by proprietor Frank from a lifetime of magpie finds and house clearance. What appears to be a completely eclectic muddle of things we found to be actually quite carefully thought about and placed. It has the satisfying illusion of chaos which allows the visitor to feel like an explorer discovering everything for the first time.
We wanted our first foray into the building to be unobtrusive. We decided to select a number of framed-up prints from our ‘ghost-in-a-sheet’ series of lo-fi and Polaroid images to place discreetly amongst the existing framed pictures and photographs for visitors to happen upon.
Thanks to Frank for hosting us (and for getting under a sheet for a quick snap!) and to Made in Roath for finding us such a great venue.
Absent but not Forgotten are off to Cardiff tonight for BYOB III in The Abacus with BIT Studios. Experimenting with some new footage…come and say hello!