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Posted 06.04.17

Students compose collaborative response to The Mother’s Bones

By Sarah Packer

Selected students on our BA (Hons) Fine Art programme have composed a creative response to art practitioner Abigail Reynolds’ ‘The Mother's Bones’ film - you can find out more about the film here.

Not only has Abigail Reynolds’ exhibited internationally, she was also recently awarded the BMW Art Journey prize at Art Basel for ‘The Ruins of Time: Lost Libraries of the Silk Road’.

She also exhibited in The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art in 2013 with ‘New Light’, so we were excited to welcome her back to work with our students.

Artist and educator Rachel Dobbs led the workshop with students working with an interview Abigail conducted with Ed Retallack as a starting point, from this, the students made a short film and soundtrack.

The students worked cooperatively, making different parts of the film and then came together to create the final piece, considering narrative, sound, structure and context.

Katherine Hall: I took macro images of the rock formations, inspired by the geological shots in the film.

"When Abigail Reynolds contacted us for BA Fine Art students to work with her on a project to create a documentary about a man, Ed Retallack, who has lived and worked in Dean Quarry (the site of her new film The Mother’s Bones), we jumped at the chance to get involved.

“By utilising a recording of Corinne & Ed Retallack that was made as research for Abigail’s project, the students were asked to respond to both The Mother’s Bones film and the couple’s conversation about the history of the quarry. When we got Rachel Dobbs on board, we knew it was going to be an exciting, professional and educational process.

“All the BA Fine Art staff are delighted about what the three students have produced – not only is it original and challenging, it also has a nuanced and reflective understanding of Abigail’s final film.

“The students have outdone themselves – particularly as two of the three students have never worked with sound or video before. I’d like to congratulate them for their hard work and fantastic final piece, and hope that they continue to make video!"

Jenny Keane, Programme Leader, BA (Hons) Fine Art


There’d Be all Hell Let Loose NowBy: Katherine Hall, Shannon Watson & Maire Wilcox.
By: Katherine Hall, Shannon Watson & Maire Wilcox.

Student Katherine Hall describes the project below:

“I was part of a collaborative project tasked with creating a co-authored video piece in response to the art film ‘The Mother’s Bones’ by Abigail Reynolds, which I saw at Plymouth Arts Centre last year.

I decided to collect my footage in a place that has been very significant to me during my time at Plymouth; the Hoe. It has a very rich history behind it and during my first year, I was down by the sea every day.

On our first day working with Rachel Dobbs, myself and two other students compiled the visual and audio footage we had collected, to review it. That evening I worked on creating some additional audio footage using my guitar and pedal. The sounds are inspired by Gareth’s compositions for the St Keverne band and the feedback from the pedal.

The second session on Friday was concerned mainly with getting the work ready for screening at 2pm, and we kept to this timeframe. Rachel provided invaluable support in regards to any technical issues we encountered with the programme and encouraged us to view what we had created with a critical eye. We decided to call our work ‘There’d Be All Hell Let Loose Now’, after a quote from Ed.

The screening went down well; we spoke a bit about the context behind why we’d made the work, and then followed up with questions. This experience has definitely inspired me to incorporate video and sound work into my studio practice, and I have a few ideas up my sleeve for future works.”

Read Katherine’s in-depth review in full here.