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Atlas Arts

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Place of Pillars | Ruth Barker – Portree

Place of Pillars (2016) is a new spoken word artwork by Ruth Barker commissioned by ATLAS Arts.

Composed as a live performance that will also be released as a downloadable podcast, it is a poetic monologue. Ruth says ‘the work is a slip shod stretch in unsuitable shoes, it is a meandering and unreliable ramble across the peat landscape of Skye’s Trotternish peninsula, from the township of Flodigarry (‘the floating enclosure’), to the river Lealt (‘the half stream’). It is a circuitous loop through the Staffin crofters’ uprising, past handmade dinosaurs, via biro marks on a folded map. It is a route of thought – not so much a train as a sheep track bumping its way between the lochans.’  With sparks of humour, familiar landmarks, and an ideosyncratic eye for detail, Barker’s writing has a firm rooting in the day to day of contemporary Scotland.

This is a dual-sited event, with a live performance taking place on August 5th in Edinburgh as part of Edinburgh Art Festival 2016. Following this performance a podcast of the work will be available to download from atlasarts.org.uk

This commission is part of a wider collaboration between ATLAS Arts and Staffin Community Trust exploring the Crofters’ Wars in Staffin through local stories and memories.     

About the Artist: Ruth Barker is a Glasgow based artist who works with text and performance. Her practice brings moments of the contemporary quotidian together with the accumulated echoes of humanity’s oldest stories.

Recomposing ancient myths through the language of her own unconscious associations and personal autobiography, Ruth’s performance poems are hypnotic, ritualised, events. Her words are recited with a concentrated focus that becomes by turns magical, claustrophobic, and cathartic. Voicing her private internal images as collectively shared archetypes becomes an experience towards the ritual understanding of self, gender, and mortality.

Recent projects include performance commissions for Glasgow Women’s Library, Camden Arts Centre (London), Sils Projects (Rotterdam), Glasgow International festival of Visual Art; Cartel Gallery, (London); ReMap festival (Athens); the Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies (Newcastle); and Machon Hamayim (Tel Aviv).

The Artist is represented by the Agency Gallery, London.