59.14 N 3.34 W presents the culmination of a curatorial residency undertaken by Laura Mansfield at the The Erlend Williamson Art Fellowship with support from The Orkney Cultural Fund. Laura has invited the artists Sovay Berriman, Franziska Lantz and Matt Rowe to join her on the residency to develop work in response to The Brough of Birsay, a small tidal island off the westcoast of mainland Orkney.
The invited artists are exploring the history and geography of The Brough of Birsay developing a selection of works that draw upon ideas of the island as a site of ritual, a sculptural form and a point of communication.
The final event invites the public to partake in a journey across the Brough encountering and participating in each of the artist’s works.
Matt Rowe’s practice is focused on vernacular symbols, language and folklore. His previous project Tall Tales involved collecting local stories for the compilation of a book of contemporary folklore. He often combines various disciplines, ceramics, model making and textiles to produce sculptural costumes and props that play with notions of regional and local identity. He uses his costumes and props as a means to create unexpected structures in the landscape that echo with associations of storybook narratives and ancient legends. Continuingly photographing his structures, he is developing a portfolio of landscape images that blur the real and the imaginary. For his time in Birsay Matt has been researching and building a series of parabolic reflectors. Interested in the position of the Brough and the unique light of the Orkney Isles as well as the history of Norse settlements, Matt has developed the reflectors as a means of echoing the specifically Northern conditions of the landscape and creating a series of structures that act as sign posts and signals, reminding the viewer of the Norse journey to the Brough and its contemporary role as a point of navigation for passing ships.