<back Argo Navis:1 Vela (The Sails) 1973 - 2016  

The constellation of 'Vela', represented by eight excavations of 0.071 cubic feet (the volume of one breath), on the island of Islay, Scotland.

Left Panel: The locations of the eight excavations.. Right Panel: Eight paired photographs of the excavations.


The 'One Breath' excavation pieces of 1972/3 - from which this work evolved - were made at various locations; but there was no physical or intellectual relationship between the individual locations, just an emotional connection for me.

I had hoped, however, to try and use the 'physical relationship' between the individual excavations to create a piece that had a more universal resonance...

And eventually the ancient constellation of 'Argo Navis', became the template for that work.

'Argo Navis' was one of Ptolemy's original constellations, but it was eventually abandoned and divided into three separate constellations in 1930: these being Vela (The Sails), Carina (The Keel), and Puppis (The Stern).

I intended to make the first set of 'small excavations' - forming 'Vela' (The Sails) - on the Scottish island of Islay, and in 1973 I bought an Ordnance Survey map of the island; plotting the positions of the eight, 'One Breath', excavations that would be needed...

However, that was as far as I got back in the 1970s. Finances, and other aspects of my life, conspired against the travel and expense that would have been incurred in the creation of the work.

But now, some 43 years later, with 'Vela' at last created... - I look forward to the making of 'Carina' and of 'Puppis', in the not too distant future...

Photographs: Small Excavation No.8. East of Kilchiaran, near Loch Conailbhe.
(The lower, far left point of the constellation).

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