Text written by Siân Williams and published in the catalogue accompanying the States of Uncertainty exhibition where the work was first shown in 2016 .
Everything We Dream Of Is Already Present In The World
Eos is a collaboration between myself and sound artist Ben Morris. Done over time, and at a distance, it is perhaps two pieces of ‘half-work’ that sit in conversation with each other to make a whole. Neither one is quite complete by itself, and yet each has an autonomy that is supported, and also questioned, by the other.
The title refers to the Goddess of the Dawn in Ancient Greek mythology. Daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia, sister to Helios (sun) and Selene (moon). Eos, through her union with Astraeus, gave birth to the winds and the stars. She rises each morning from the ocean to travel across the sky dispersing the mists of night.
The footage was born from a series of ink drawings made between 2012 and 2014. I kept on returning to these drawings, albeit sporadically, over the course of two years, never really satisfied with them, but never able to leave them alone either. It seemed that there was something in them that I couldn’t put my finger on, a potential that I couldn’t yet recognise. I would make them again and again, almost obsessively, fascinated by watching the drawing take shape as the ink spread slowly across the wet paper. The more I did this, the more I realised that this was where the potential lay; it was in watching the drawing emerge, rather than looking at it once it was finished. The still image, although striking, had lost some of it’s magic; it had become, it was no longer becoming. The film then keeps the drawing in perpetual motion. In a state of eternal becoming it is a place of potential.
Unable to decide what to do with it, I let the footage languish on a USB stick for over a year and a half, until a conversation with Ben Morris about the structural qualities of sound and how it can be used to create depth and space, led me to ask him to produce something for the film. The sound is not conventionally harmonious; it slips into moments of being very aligned, but then out again, existing as it were on it’s own plane. They are very much two separate entities in conversation with each other, producing a cognitive space.
Dawn is a point of transformation, when night turns into day, and one thing has not yet quite become the other. It is a state of becoming, a state of uncertainty. We use the phrase ‘it dawned upon me’ to describe a moment of recognition and of realisation. Dawn brings in a new day, she represents hope and new beginnings and with that comes potential and possibility;
‘…rising in her yellow robe from the streams of the Ocean, to bring light to deathless gods and mortal men’
There is also an acknowledgment of the cyclical nature of things; as dawn turns into day, so day becomes dusk, dusk becomes night, and eventually night draws to a close and dawn returns once more. Everything that happens once will happen again, although it may seem to us as if it is new. It is a continuation, a progression, an evolution of what has already been and what was always there. Just as the movement of the ink settles into stillness, so it then begins to reverse, withdrawing into itself, ready to start again from the beginning in a never ending cycle of repetition and renewal. Everything we dream of is already present in the world.
1. Eos. Visited July 2016. URL: http://www.theoi.com/Titan/Eos.html
2. Homer, The Illiad, trans. Martin Hammond, London, Penguin Books Ltd, 1987, pp 311