Michelle Atherton’s video installation ‘Absorbing Red Photons’ installed at ‘Liquidscapes’ international gathering at Dartington Hall

Still from video installation 'Absorbing Red Photons' by Michelle Atherton, courtesy of the artist


Michelle Atherton’s video installation ARP: Absorbing red Photons 2016 (2017) was installed at Liquidscapes: tales and telling of watery worlds and fluid states at Dartington Hall in Devon this June, at a three-day international gathering bringing together creative thinkers, writers, academics and artists to explore physically and figuratively our watery worlds and fluid states. The keynotes for the conference included Professor Paul Murdin OBE, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, Tristan Gooley author and natural navigator, whose bestselling books include books How to Read Water (2016) and the artist Amy Sharrock who’s work spans a decade of investigating people and water. Michelle also presented her paper Subversive Aesthetics as part of the programme.

Liquidscapes: tales and telling of watery worlds and fluid states
Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon
Wednesday 20 June – Friday 22 June 2018

Michelle Atherton’s installation at the conference ARP is the second in a trilogy of videos, which began with Dreams of Flying, that use the tourist trip as a methodological starting point for the artworks. The video installation and text explore what might be a stake in an act of submersion in a space of perpetual darkness. The video uses footage shot from a descent, 2,000 feet below sea level, off the coast of Roatan, Honduras and presents the view from the submersible’s thirty-inch porthole.

ARP aims to challenge our centrality in relation to a scene in which we become completely immersed, but severed. One in which we ultimately cannot locate our gaze, our sense of self. It asks what it means to be surrounded in space that it is impossible to inhabit. The piece questions the primacy of the visual and our relations with a space of alterity, where everyday dynamics need to be redefined.

ARP has been supported by the Art & Design Research Centre, at Sheffield Institute of Arts, Sheffield Hallam University, UK and through a residency at BANFF Centre for Arts and Creativity, Canada 2017.

Michelle Atherton is Senior Lecturer in Sheffield Institute of Arts (SIA) and a member of the Art & Design Research Centre (ADRC) within C3RI. Michelle’s research explores the resistance of space through the encounter with the image, often using cultural phenomena as a starting point to discuss structures and systems. Michelle’s work has been widely exhibited in a range of galleries and art museums across Europe.