artist & writer
Sunday, September 14th 2014
Orkney Islands, Scotland
The morning brought us to the small island Holm of Papa to explore the Holm Tomb. The landing party consisted of Struan, Suly, Jean, Paul and myself. Landing on the rocky shore carpeted with seaweed we made our way up to dry land and started the short hike across the island to the grassy mound that housed the Neolithic tomb. The grassy fields showed little signs of life aside from faint sheep trails and a few birds flying away as we walked. Quickly reaching the northern shore of the island we were meet with cliffs and canyons stretching from the interior of the island to the coast very different from the gradual grass slope that was the south side of the island.
Reaching the mound we were greeted by a steel hatch and several glass cube skylights. Climbing down the fixed ladder into the tomb that was hall like with a wall and ground level opening on each end. Several tomb entrances can be seen in the main room with another in each of the smaller end rooms. This communal burial site is very unique in its design and size. First discovered in 1849 it dates older than Maeshowe on the Mainland. On the wall above one of the cells are manmade etchings referred to as “eyebrow” decorations, their meaning is still unknown. The original entrance to the tomb can be found in the middle of the chamber near to the ladder. It is a small square tunnel that leads outside, a walled channel frames it on the exterior of the mound positioned towards the sea.
Climbing back to ground level I make my way to the eastern shore of the island which is made up of dark flagstone. Walking along the shore looking for shells I slowly walked around back into the South Wick bay we were anchored in. Looking up from my beachcombing I see 16 pairs of eyes staring at me just out of the water belonging to a herd of seals, looking further down the beach I see my shipmates standing on the shore looking out at another large herd of seals watching them. They followed us as we walked along the beach back to the place where we left the life jackets. Captain Celia came to pick us up in the zodiac coasting slowly through the herds.
Once back aboard Selkie we hoisted anchor and made a quick 1 hour trip to the larger island of Westray to spend a few days in the marina to replenish our water supply, power up and use the services. After we secured Selkie to the pontoons I headed into the village of Pierowall about a mile from the harbor.
Coming upon the ruins of an ancient church, Lady Kirk, is surrounded by a beautiful cemetery. Viking Graves have been found here dating back to the year 800. The church itself was built in 1674 on the foundations of a church from the 13th Century. Inside the structure on the back wall stand two tombstones behind a glass case that date to the 1607.
"The Lily Must Decay"
After a latte at the Café I walked back to the ship by way of the beach.
Borrowing a bike I headed out to see the Noup Head lighthouse at around 9 pm. It was about 7 miles away up to the islands highest point. The ride/walk was strenuous and I didn’t see any cars or people out during the entire trip. About halfway there the road turned into a dirt road that lead through fields of sheep. Looking off either side of the road I could just see eerie green circles in all directions which where the sheep’s eyes illuminate by my headlamp. I passed several stone ruins of houses, which I had no interest in exploring at night. I could see the faint light of the lighthouse in the distance calling me to her cliffs. Near to the lighthouse I passed a loch which was full of birds that all began to chatter alarmed by my presence I pushed on to try and limit disturbing them as much as possible.
Finally the lighthouse’s shape came into view through the darkness, its light slowly turning with a beam shooting off in both directions made visible by the haze and fog. It was much smaller than I had imagined and was locked tight and closed to the public. Without my headlamp all of its details were obscured by the night. I took a number of long exposure photographs and a film of its motion. A half moon had appeared just above the sea, its orange reflection on the water was beautiful which slowly turned to white during the time I was there. I am sure the views are stunning in the daytime but I can’t see myself repeating this trip to find out.
I returned the way I came and made it back to the ship at around 12:30 am.
you can read about the voyages and the drawings at : huffingtonpost.com/jfrede
11:30 - Thursday, September 11, 2014
59° 22.846 n, 2°22.744 w - 23°C
Reaching the island of North Ronaldsay, we dropped anchor just off the southern coast nearest to the North Ronaldsay Lighthouse and the Old Beacon. Traveling by dingy to an old boat ramp we went ashore to explore the island and visit the lighthouse. An old stone structure greeted us with a sign that explained its former life as a workshop for the Lighthouse Keepers for making repairs and painting. A decaying boat sits at the top of the ramp with various bits of rope and rusting metal occupying its weathered hull.
A herd of North Ronaldsay’s famous sheep hurry past be with only mild caution and dismissed urgency in response to my stillness. This island largest population is that of the sheep the island is known for. Sheep have lived on this island for more than 5000 years and have evolved their diet to feed on seaweed unless they are lambing at, which time they are given hay by the locals. They are goat like in appearance and their coats produce very fine wool. All the of the sheep on the island are descendants of the original Orkney sheep presumed to have been brought to the island by Neolithic people and have survived on the island far longer than any humans.
My shipmates Jean and Paul were out about the sheep in a field of brilliant green grass near some very old sheepfolds when they began waving for me to come over. They had found a sheep on the ground in distress and when I got there I could see her back leg had somehow gotten stuck in her horns. Breathing heavily she looked as though she had been stuck for quite some time. I petted her a bit before slowly pulling her leg free of her horn while holding her horn in my free hand to make sure she didn’t react and cut her leg. Once I unwrapped her from her pretzel like state I gave her some love and we left her to relax and recuperate (as we were leaving the island me and Paul walked back over to check on her and were please to see she was able to get up and walk away from us)
Heading on towards the lighthouse that is the tallest in the British Isles standing at 139ft high. Built in 1854 to replace the Dennis Head Old Beacon, which is made entirely of stone and dates to 1789.
After a look around we ascended the spiral staircase to the top where we were met by a elderly man who spoke in a very quiet monotone telling us an extensive history of the lighthouse (far more extensive than anything I can find online). He had been one of the lighthouse keepers in the 1970s and continued until its automation in the 1990s. The lens is a First Order Fresnel Lens and is in almost perfect condition and is still in use today.
The lighthouse’s original clockwork is also still in place which is remarkable considering it is now run on a motor. The tour guide let me wind it a bit and I was very happy to do so. There was also a gold coin and a silver coin of Spanish heritage that he casually pulled out of the display case and handed us to hold and feel its weight and surface. The details of the lighthouse remained including a medusa like woman’s face that graced air vents that were opened when a flame was in the place of the modern light bulb, the lattice work of the lights lantern room featured a lions head at each intersection of the support bars. We were allowed to go through the opening in the lens and stand inside of it as it turned, I have never seen this level of access in the states and I was very stoked to have the chance to see it more from inside, even if it was 1 billion degrees in there.
After the tour he walked down with us and took us out to the foghorn where he blasted it for us, without warning of when the blast would come…. Luckily we were on the backside of it but still you could feel the sound shaking your chest as it blew.
The rest of the crew went to the gift shop for tea and ice cream while I made my way over to the old beacon. Walking along the shore with the sheep hurrying before me I made my way through the old sheep folds made of stone and finally to the old beacon. Sadly it is shrouded in scaffolding “waiting for money to restore it” after it was featured on a TV show which basically shamed them for letting it nearly fall down. So now it has been in this cocoon for 3 years untouched so it isn’t being restored and the beauty it once held has also been restricted from view.
Climbing over rubble of stones I found the small door opening. A pile of pigeon guano about 2ft tall sat in the middle of the tower. Looking up I could see the faint light of the beacons light window at the top of the tower. You could see the remains of the original stone spiral staircase coming out of the walls. It looked much shorter on the inside than on the outside. Climbing out I stepped back to look at it through the scaffolding. The circle that crowns the top of the light beacon is made entirely of carved stone and is beautiful.
Heading back to the shore I met up with the rest of the crew on the walk back to the zodiac. Passing the sheep I had untangled earlier in the day, she was up and about and was going to be fine. North Ronaldsay was my favorite island I visited in the Orkney Islands.
Monday September 8th 2014. Orkney Islands, Scotland.
Leaving from the Visitors Center in Kirkwall myself and Struan boarded the bus heading for Stromness. We alerted the driver we were going to the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar. Heading west out of the city we were soon in the storybook-esque Scottish countryside complete with rolling green hills, stone houses and herds of grazing sheep. After about 40 minutes time the bus driver stopped and at a non-descript part of the road and said this was the stop. We stepped off and looked around and could see the Stones of Stenness in the distance.
The Stones of Stenness, Ring of Brodgar and the newly found Ness of Brodgar are all important Neolithic sites that are 5000 years old and predate Stonehenge.
A tour couch was there when we arrived but soon we had the site mostly to ourselves, after exploring the site and the “Farmhouse” foundation sites closer to the water we made our way up the road passing the “Watch stone” just before a bridge then we walked past the Ness of Brodgar which is closed to the public and is an active dig site. The Ness of Brodgar is an incredibly important find as it ties the two standing stone sites together and is the oldest Neolithic site in all of Europe. Continuing up the road we approached the Ring of Brodgar from the south giving us a great vantage point to see all of the stones in their mysterious glory before heading up the hill to walk amongst them. They are ancient and beautiful and a power that is difficult to translate into words. I spent time at each stone and took a good deal of photographs. Twenty seven of the original stones still stand. From time to time the sun would break through the cloudy skies and cast the most amazing light on the stones surface, their long shadows would darken and I was reminded of the possible intention of interaction with the heavens.
On our walk back we walked through the stones of Stenness once more, looking again for away to get to the location where the Odin Stone once stood but it seems to be on private property. I feel blessed to have seen these great stones and walked beneath them just as our ancestors did 5000 years ago.
Friday September 5th 2014 - Egilsay Island, Orkney, Scotland
We disembarked from Kirkwall Marina for a day sail to Egilsay Island. Onboard the Selkie was the Captain Celia Bull, her son Dylan, Howard Buxton, Selena Kuzman (Artist), Struan Kennedy (Artist), Suly Sanchez (Marine Biologist) and myself. We were off in search of the place where Saint Magnus was executed at the order of his cousin Earl Haakon. Soon I was raising the mainsail and shortly their after we were unfurling the Genoa jib. There was a nice wind blowing out of the (DIRECTION OF WIND) and the seas were quiet. Spending much of my time next to the Captain taking in as much as possible. As we sailed past the island of Shapinsay the Balfour Castle could be seen perched on the hillside. Continuing due North we passed several Cardinal Buoys painted Yellow and Black. Celia explained to me that the first meant safe passage to the south and the next meant safe passage to the north (on the chart this was noted by the arrangement of small triangles above the buoy icon). Arriving at the anchorage at Egilsay we dropped the mainsail followed by the anchor. We were all then transported to the island via a zodiac boat.
Once on land we made our way up the single road leading inland. The Saint Magnus Church stood on the hill north of us and was our first destination. It is thought that this church was built on the sight of the original church where Earl Magnus took refuge in pray the night before his execution. It is a very unique style of cathedral for Orkney, which has been attributed to the belief that this was the site of an early Celtic monastery.
Moving on from the church we walked up the grassy road and made our way out to a large stone monument that sat out in a field. This was the site of Earl Magnus (whom later became Saint Magnus) met his end.
Earl Magnus was executed under the order of his cousin Earl Haakon after he had been double-crossed at a peace meeting he had arranged. Magnus suggested he be banished to Rome or The Holy Land, Haakon said no thanks, then Magnus agreed to be imprisoned and Haakon replied with “No way Jose”. Next Magnus suggested he be maimed or blinded and to this Haakon agreed. But Haakon’s soldiers had had enough of dealing with two lords trying to rule and said they were going to kill one of them and it didn’t matter which it was to them. Haakon is quoted as saying “I like Earldom better than death, so kill him”. The problem now was no one wanted to do it, finally Magnus ordered Haakon’s cook, Lifolf to use his axe on his head, it took two tries.
After a lazy relaxing time at the site of a double axe wound to the head execution we headed back to the pier and finally back aboard the Selkie. Returning to Kirkwall Marina after a lovely day of sailing.
j.frede - Orkney Islands, Scotland - The Clipperton Project
I have been invited to sail the Northern Isles of Scotland as an Artist in Residence aboard the ship Selkie as part of The Clipperton Project. While aboard the ship I will be making drawings using the motion of the sea with a simple Drawing Machine I have designed. Inspired and influenced by the Harmonograph Drawing Machines of the 1800’s, I am making a tray that will move at will contained inside a larger box. As the ship heels and bobs the tray and paper will move side to side, back and forth recording the sea’s movement as a drawing. Each drawing will last for 24 hours at which time I will change out the paper and a new drawing will begin. In the end there will be a log of the ships motion for everyday I am aboard.
Along with the Drawing Machine I will also be keeping a daily journal, taking photographs and making videos of the expedition. These journals and images as well as photographs of the drawings made will be published as regularly as possible to my blog on The Huffington Post. Allowing all of my friends, family and everyone who finds romance in the open sea to follow along on the journey.
I have launched a Kickstarter to help raise the funds to complete the proper version of the Drawing Machine and with the other expenses that occur on such a voyage.
I will be playing my first live set in many moons next week at Trans Pecos in Queens, NY. I will be processing a field recording made inside the lens housing of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse of the lens’ original clockwork in motion.
915 Wyckoff St. (Halsey L Train Stop)
8pm - $7
Thursday, June 26 2014
Anxiety death rock outta NYC
twee rock from SF
Brooklyn based experimental techno
On a Clear Day
Ambient cut-up modular electronics
Los Angeles conceptual sound artist
event invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/662673787119073/
June 28 – August 2, 2014 | Opening Reception: June 28th
321 Gallery - 321 Washington Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11205
Curated by Joseph Imhauser.
Joy Syringe is a Pollination show of the London Biennale.
For the Joy Syringe exhibition I will be presenting my “After Malevich” works consisting of the finished photograph printed and mounted to the exact dimensions of the original Black Square painting as well as the complete Action video of its creation.
More information about the work I am showing can be found here:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jfrede/ncca-kronstadt….
Event Invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/613840608712409/
THE HOT 100 features 100 top, international, emerging artists with artworks priced under $10,000. Proceeds from THE HOT 100 auction will go to environmental and humanitarian charities supported by the Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation, aimed at raising awareness for climate change and environmental issues, dedicated to protecting Earth’s last wild places and fostering a harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world.
j.frede : Fiction Landscape no.06 - 2013
My work available for purchase in the auction is Fiction Landscape no.06.
more about this series here:
The Fiction Landscapes are a continuation in my interest in memories, both secure and lost within objects, which I first addressed with my Heirlooms body of work in 2012. The Fiction Landscapes are made with banal photographs of landscapes I purchase at flea markets then arranging them into new landscapes by aligning in such a way that the scene continues from photo to photo spanning wide geographic locations and decades. I feel that with a photograph that is lacking a focal point such as a family member or specific location IE: the destination of the trip, then the photo is something of a placeholder for what was happening in the photographers life at that moment. For instance that point and shoot photo of a hill side on a road trip, which we have all taken at some point, will call back the trip as a whole and memories of the trip or that time in your life that are completely unassociated with the uninteresting and un related hillside that happened to fly past you as you rode in the car or stopped at a rest stop. Once these photos with no discernable direction have found themselves in a bin at the flea market these ambiguous photographs and their secret associations with memories are lost forever. Arranging these into new landscapes that never existed speaks to the stitching together of human behavior and how we relate to time and the past: How many people have stopped at that rest stop and taken nearly the same photo of the plain hillside? All locking their own associations into the view, first road trip with a new love; last road trip to see grandma; one of many road trips alone.
more about this project can be seen here : http://www.jfrede.com/booming_kelso.html