What is the strangest thing you have ever found on a beach?

Balloon hunting, Block Island, Rhode Island, 2017


BLOCK ISLAND, RHODE ISLAND, USA The 4 miles of beach past Southwest Point on Block Island in the summer is hot, littered with trees, boulders, the detritus of the shipping industry it is also empty of day-trippers and family beach parties. The wild ocean facing side of the island here evidence and artifacts lie everywhere but the people are far away, the arc of existence described by a million pointless objects. Decisions that were made elsewhere and long ago.

GYRE, The piece I created for Reuse, Reinvent Reimagine started with the beachcombing ; the process of acquiring junk, trash, stuff to be sorted later.Walking along a beach, a place I call home at a time in my life where that term represents many places many times.  a work constructed entirely from balloons I have recovered from a remote beach off the east coast of America, will be shown as part of Reuse, Reinvent, Reimagine an exhibition of ten Scotland based artists which is on at Gallery 23 as part of the Edinburgh Fringe from Aug 10th – 28th.

GYRE is constructed from  found marine plastic (over 100 PET plastic balloons) which I have recovered  from the same ocean facing beach on Block Island, Rhode Island, a small island off the coast of New England in the USA . In that time I have amassed hundreds of these objects wrapped around boulders, accumulated in masses like seaweed.  Tied to our rituals of celebration and commemoration, these objects become malignant when discarded; the dead junk of our ever expanding consumer society.

GYRE considers our sometimes misplaced emotional connection to objects and the turbulence of memory associated with them. It explores how we discard once important items and the impact this collective ‘forgetting’ has on the environment. In the context of GYRE I hope these objects can be ‘seen’ again, to reveal the process of our disconnection with the environment.

As part of the installation, I have also created transfer drawings of the balloons using a process pioneered by American artist Robert Rauschenberg. Three works, YOLO (thinking of war), FOMO Graffiti and Basket of Deplorables employs inverted text and images from the balloons to create mementos of our collective amnesia.


“…objects are important not because they are evident and physically constrain or enable but often precisely because we do not ‘see’ them. The less we are aware of them the more powerfully they can determine our expectations by setting the scene and insuring normative behaviour, without being open to challenge.”

Materiality, Daniel Miller

Reuse, Reinvent, Reimagine

Aug 10th – 28th 2018
Gallery 23, 23 Atholl Crescent Edinburgh. EH3 8HQ
Thurs 23rd 1-3pm, Fri 24th 1-5pm,
Mon 27th Aug & Tues 28th Aug 9-5pm

Reuse, Reinvent, Reimagine is an exhibition of 10 artists based in Scotland whose work engages with the all too pressing environmental issues we face today. Exhibiting artists include: Janeanne Gilchrist, Michele Marcoux, Andy McIntosh, Sally Price, Anke-Beate Stahl, Dorothy Jackson, Klaus Pinter, Jessica Copping, Rhona Fleming, Chloe Martina Salvi and Yulia Kovanova.