Introducing "Digging Down: Fragmented Totalities"

My Waleslab project, ‘Digging Down: Fragmented Totalities’, is … finally …. emerging! I wanted to capture this moment by starting a blog. A place where I can say a little more about the idea, and perhaps a bit about the process of working on it too.


To start at the beginning.

The project is stimulated by the questions raised by a hoard of fragments and objects that I’ve been digging from the old middens my garden in Nantperis, in the Llanberis Pass.

These fragments and objects are the rubbish that previous inhabitants had thrown away (since about 1870s it turns out) before we started getting our rubbish collected. From hand-made shoes to guns, children’s tin animals to circle-decorated slates, bed steads and cots to marmalade jars, cutlery, plates and bottles, they are not ‘valuable’ in an archaeological sense. But they are intriguing, beautiful and thought provoking.

As Will Viney says:


“I’d like to suggest to you that one of the peculiar characteristics of things that we call ‘waste’ is their strange suggestability, their enigmatic power to pose questions whose attending answers in the end, feel rather excessive, superfluous or insufficient… it has entered a peculiar form of time, one that emerges out of its status as a ‘has-been’, a remainder or trace of action whose relation to the past is suspended in its presence… a universe of matter that swirls in and through us”


From the initial delight at finding all this stuff, the sheer volume of it all started to make me feel a little like Fuseli’s ‘Artist Overwhelmed by the Grandeur of Antique Ruins’.  I had found a place to house the accumulating hoard – a beautiful old barn up the road. But what was I to do with it all? How could I do justice to it, make sense of it? Why am I compelled to gather these things?  What is it about them that makes them so evocative, so connective: Why do they help me feel a part of this place, simultaneously part of the past, the present and the future?


So this project is to explore these questions, to take the exploration from a personal one to a collective one. To find traces of answers.  I hope to collaborate with two others to broaden the search, and to bring new dimensions to my work, including song, performance, welsh language, movement, words, sound and light. I hope that this exploration will culminate in a Last Supper in the barn, as an immersive experience in which to eat, talk and explore the potential of the fragment as a way of understanding ourselves, our relationships, the universe and everything.

Please get in touch if you are interested in being involved! If you want to see more of my ‘thinking’ and background research phase, I’ve written more on my website (hoard / blog sections) :

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Comment by Lindsey Colbourne on February 6, 2015 at 20:57

Thanks Kate! And for all the ideas and connections and inspirations today too

Comment by Kate Lawrence on February 6, 2015 at 20:50

Really interesting Lindsey, I love the Viney quote.  Thanks for showing me around today and good luck!

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