Cupar Arts Festival, Cupar, Fife, Scotland, 05-17 October, 2013

Hill of Tarvit Mansionhouse, Ceres, Fife, Artists’ Talk, 05 October, 2013

Installation in the house of artist Liz Skulina, Cupar, Fife

Giant cardboard shoe box, shoe collection, poster, sound work, editioned pair of printed badges, publication

A collaboration with Esméemilja April Jouel


The Story of the Girl and the Apple Tree

Invited by artist Liz Skulina to make work to be sited in her home during Cupar Arts Festival, we were asked to consider the festival's focus on 'fate'. To do this, we have continued our exploration of the themes such as ageing, memory, temporality and the significance of objects in the ongoing project The Museum of Loss and Renewal.

With our daughter Esméemilja, we started looking at the collection of her shoes, amassed since her first pair was kept by us, and continued by her ever since. Her collection represents her own growth and the material wear and tear to each shoe evidences her ageing, energy and changing physicality. The style of each shoe reveals Esméemilja’s growing assertiveness and ability to make her own choices, while the degree to which each has been used represents the value she placed on particular pairs.

Inherent in this work is consideration of the cycle of life, earlier explored by us in the video work Growth, Form and the Inevitabilty of Herself that linked the growth cycle of a garden to the human process of ageing, focussed through images of Tracy’s mother.

The Story of the Girl and the Apple Tree expanded this investigation through a related series of elements. The giant cardboard shoe box contained the shoe collection, a text-image poster, and a sound work.

The project was partly inspired by György Ligeti's Poème Symphonique for 100 Metronomes and by Karl Popper’s text ‘Of Clouds and Clocks: an approach to the problem of rationality and the freedom of man’. Popper’s metaphor of clocks and clouds describes the two ends of the spectrum of predictability in social science: clouds represent the disorderly and irregular, and clocks represent the predictable and rational.

The Story of the Girl and the Apple Tree’s sound work (fragment started playing on opening this web page) combined a wide range of recordings of ordered and unordered sounds, the density increasing as layers are built over the work’s duration: metronome, cuckoo clock, tap dancing, weather, birds, rain ...

The accompanying publication The Story of the Girl and the Apple Tree comprised 20 printed image cards in a box, with a printed story where Esméemilja talks through her shoe collection and that incorporates ideas about memory, ageing, creative freedom, possession, fairy-tales, female childhood, time and biological growth. Presented along with this was the free, limited edition pair of printed badges Clocks are Clouds / Clouds are Clocks.