Echo Valley / A Guiding Dilemma
20 May – 20 June 2008
"I have no sight at all – so I didn’t have any fear climbing – it probably helps not to have any idea of what 20metres looks like from above. As long as it feels safe I enjoy the climbing and I don’t have any fear – it doesn’t come into my mind. The only time I'm scared of heights is in my dreams."
Over the last fifteen years Dan Shipsides has developed an art practice which uses climbing to think creatively about the spaces around us – in particular landscape spaces and ideas about what landscape is or could be. Over the last few years he’s been taking John, a blind man from Derry, climbing regularly. This activity has been aimed at thinking how to capture or describe something of this landscape experience. One approach to achieve this was by attaching tiny micro cameras to John’s fingers, backpack and feet in order to record “finger tip” footage of his climbing. The cameras used were a mixture of low to mid grade monochromatic and colour lenses depending on encumbrance in terms of where they are placed. This produced an interesting grade range of video footage – some clear and wide framed and some close-up and abstracted by varying light levels. The approach is based on the idea that, whilst sight is crucial to making it easier, climbing isn’t primarily about sight. It’s as much about movement and physicality.