Ardnamurchan Zillij by Simon Fildes and Katrina McPherson
An interactive moving mosaic for the web.
Between July and September 2004 Simon Fildes was New Dynamics Artist in Residence in the dispersed communities of Ardnamurchan as part of the Scottish Arts Council supported programme for Social Inclusion Partnership Communities. This was a part-time role to develop new 'new media' work with young people. Whilst staying there the award-winning video-maker Katrina McPherson worked along side Simon to create a new work for Alt-W called 'Ardnamurchan Zillij'.
The artists created a collaborative work with individuals from the geographically diverse groups in Ardnamurchan . They built up a bank of over 130 digital tiles based on looping moving images. The interface allows a user to select tiles and design a constantly moving colourful mosaic of small video clips. The video clips were created by designing, choreographing and videoing the movement of individuals in the communities of Ardnamurchan and the environment around them, and reducing the clips to near abstract shapes and sounds .
The idea to create an interactive moving digital mosaic was inspired by the artists fascination with Islamic Moroccan tradition which relies on geometry and endless repetition as an outlet for expression using shapes called fourmah to create intricate patterns, Zillij. Katrina and Simon were interested in exploring some interesting cultural parallels in this non representational form of art with the west coast of Scotland.
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Simon and Katrina would like to thank Eugene Rainey for his ActionScript programming and all the people of Acharacle, Glenuig, Strontian and Kilchoan (young and old) who got involved with us along the way and who's presence was invaluable to the process. We would particularly like to thank Calum Carmichael not least for his video contribution but also for being an able and willing assistant throughtout the three months we were resident in Glenuig. Many many thanks are also due to the support crew - Dot Lynas, Ali Macdonald, Peter MacFarlane, Moira Fitzpatrick, Anne-Marie Clegg, Sheena Carmichael, Siobhan Gilespie, Peter Stace, Eoghan Carmichael, Alasdair "Pod" Carmichael, Sue Cheadle, and Nick Ashcroft, without who's support there would have been no project. Thanks very mush to iain MacDonald and family for the use of the house at Seannlag, Glenuig, we loved it there.
The New Dynamics project has been supported by the Community Learning and Leisure Service of the Highland Council and has invested in good quality equipment with the support of Lochaber Enterprise and the Tudor Trust. Ardnamurchan Zillij recieved significant additional support from Alt-W, an annual scheme to fund innovative arts projects for the web. The artists gratefully acknowledge this contribution.
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