PRESENTATION: 13 – 29 MAY, 2022
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A brand new AirSpace Residency sees TRACY HILL return with works developed from her ongoing project, POROSITY, via two previous exhibitions in our Window spaces.

EPHEMERAL BODIES is the concept of things being transitory, existing only briefly.
Using drawing methods developed during Porosity as a starting point, material investigations will trace the interaction between the artist hand and material surfaces, tracing the exchange between absence and presence. Through site-specific drawing, the visible time taken to physically create and the temporality of unconventional drawing materials will invite considerations about how we understand and value sensory encounters of invisible forces we cannot see.

Porosity is an on-going R&D project, seeking to reveal unseen landscapes, exploring the walking body as a receiver of the hidden energies surrounding us. Over the past year walking journeys and conversations have informed new visual and sonic artworks exploring how the walking body can map hidden rhythms and sonic traces within a landscape.
Personal connection to Place has been explored by considering:
What happens to us as we walk through a landscape? And
How does the body decode energies around us to inform our understanding and memory of Place?

This residency opportunity provides the essential focus and time to further explore the ambition to incorporate sound into Hill's work. Collaborative exchanges with Phil Phelps, electroacoustic musician will test the technical capabilities of unconventional microphones, used to capture electromagnetics and vibrations of the materials and fabric of the building itself. Combined with the site specific drawings and artworks created during the residency period will reveal the invisible forces surrounding the artworks and audience as they encounter the space.

This 4 week residency will be accompanied by a series of public events - talks, walks and then a final 2 week presentation exhibition of works. More details coming soon.


matter resolves itself into numberless vibrations, all linked together in uninterrupted continuity, all bound up with each other, and traveling in every direction like shivers
(Bergson, 1990:208)

I wonder if there is something about my relationship between the physical nature of making, the materials I use and the journeys I make on foot. Just as when I am walking, the journey to a place of pause is the key to the experience and connection to place. The images, which have revealed themselves during this first week at AirSpace have developed through a process of drawing and material investigation, considering and bringing together elements from the last years experiments to create lines that meander, connect to each other but also that connect to negative spaces.

When we seek to enter into a relationship with materials and movement we allow ourselves to question what we think we already know about material properties/techniques and their behaviour. Through the making of site-specific artworks, the conditions for a new understanding is also created and allowed to emerge. This first week I focused on being in the gallery, allowing myself to be still in the space, using combinations of technological tools and traditional drawing I wanted to consider the invisible rhythms of the space itself.

Images created using the Magna AR app. Visualising the invisible. At tool used for teaching and learning about magnetic fields with augmented reality. https://www.magna-ar.net/

Processes of drawing, which I have used throughout the project created a starting point, I used tusche (specialist drawing ink used in Lithography) poured directly onto Lithographic stones and ceramic plates allowing the environment of the building to determine the resulting imagery. Projection of motion sensor images captured during dowsing walks onto the gallery walls allowed reconsideration of scale and layers of imagery. To explore this idea, semi transparent hanging material panels are being created. Drawing using a soldering iron reconstructs the projected data points building a relationship between the eye, the body and the hand. The intention is to hang the panels in the window space of the gallery allowing the transfer of imagery into the space via light projection.

I am seeking to disrupt the usual linear reading of the land when walking. Specifically, I am hoping to use this time to produce drawings, which pause, displace and allow our perception to consider a mode of sensing that is more attuned with the multiple ways in which the world is active around us. I am particularly interested in exploring Bergson’s perceptual theory where he suggests ‘ungraspable’ material forces and intensities participate in our perception of the world, even if we do not perceive them.


There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.
― John Cage, Silence: Lectures and Writings

Whilst working on this project, I have regularly recalled observations by Tim Ingold who refers to Mind-Walking, walking through different timescales and imagination.
As I pull threads of this project together through the residency I find myself lost in possibility, thinking in different timescales. My drawing has taken on new layers, lines of connection are being created through new materials and a focused opportunity to consider encounters of the last two years research.
Watching, listening and imagining opened up a new awareness of my own body and what happens when I walk. Listening to unheard sonic landscapes has been a fundamental element of this.

This week I had the gift of working for two days with Phill Phelps, electroaccoustic musician living and working in Bristol.  Working together in the gallery Phill’s unique understanding of sonic landscapes revealed sonic traces and energies present in our everyday environments, and importantly, specifically in the building of AirSpace itself.
In an extension of my drawings in the gallery we set up a series of vibration tests to explore the visualization of the resonance frequencies captured.

Working collaboratively with Phill, ideas, sounds and images have moved back and forth between us.  Our creative responses shifting understanding and extending the possibilities my installations can create.
On a previous visit to the gallery, we captured sonic traces and usually inaudible sounds of the building to combine with recordings of natural phenomena such as underground vibrations and fluid in motion. 
Variations in light, recorded and replayed as sound variations in magnetic fields, captured in and around the gallery building with electromagnetic coils.  Some recordings are of phenomena too slow or too rapid to be detected as sound, these are replayed with higher or slower speed so that their ‘voice’ may be heard by our ears.
A sonic landscape is installed in the gallery, to sit alongside my drawing responses. Combined, they create layers of experience to explore how our walking bodies move connecting to the pulse and rhythms of place.


The threshold shifts. It vibrates. It is not figure or form. Not this or that history, this or that memory. It resonates with all it touches. But it cannot quite be seen

― Erin Manning, Thought in the act, 2014

Feeling the vibrations, shifting ideas of an unseen landscape within an urban environment. Reminding ourselves to be still and to listen and feel the earth beneath our feet and the buildings in which we live.
I was joined this week by the incredible Deborah Bell.  Deb has been a professional water dowser for over 25 years and she very generously gave her time to take a group of curious minds on a walk.
Together we explored the streets of Hanley, Hanley Park and AirSpace gallery to map invisible energy lines from underground springs. We spent some time following lines of energy, watching Deb pace out the direction and flow of the springs she sensed.

Insights into such a sensory experience are unique to each individual and have the potential to shift understanding of how we think of space and our movements within it.
Conversations linked personal experiences, the group shared local knowledge, walking routes and understanding with the new discoveries of walking following energy lines under the guidance of Deb.

The additional tools of digital mapping apps, Augmented Reality tools and hydrophones allowed us to reflect on all the unseen versions of our human reality whilst walking.

The intention of the day was to explore how the walking body is able to receive and decode invisible energy. Walking to establish a particular relationship with space, different to other modes of travel.
During the day our walking bodies charted our distance along a path, navigating the urban landscape and parkland of Hanley guided by the bodies of water below us.
By physically pacing out the distance on the ground we were able to locate invisible flows, revealing the springs running below us. 
Understanding how the human body is receiving unseen energy when walking invites possibilities to explore how we translate sensory responses to walking in the landscape.  

This residency continues to shift my understanding, allowing focused time spent drawing.  Drawing line by line, over time, temporal, fragile, instantaneous, state of flux, all drawing is of the moment, you are looking, acting and reacting while you are thinking and feeling both analytically and instinctively. The drawing becomes the residue of these relations, making them visible.  The final week will be spent following the line of an underground spring, a site specific gallery drawing mapping out the potential and reimagined flow of energy below the gallery where I draw.

Site specific gallery drawing, mapping spring below the gallery.

Drawings very intimacy is that it records what lies beyond the body but from the sight of the body and in the form of touch of the body
– Jean-Luc Nancy


We are not separate from this Earth; we are a part of it, whether we fully feel it in our bodies yet or not.
― Sharon Blackie, If Women Rose Rooted.

My final week at AirSpace concentrated thoughts and investigations from the previous 3 weeks. This residency has given me the gift of working with wonderful and gifted artists.  Phill Phelps captured the sonic portrait of the building and revealed sonic frequencies normally inaudible to our human ears.  By shifting time and speed these traces become visible, forcing a reconsideration of our relationship with the sonic world around us.   This unique sonic portrait will play within the gallery space for the duration of the final presentation of work.

Deb Bell revealed magnetic energy within the building during a dowsing event in the gallery. Finding the centre point of a subterranean spring running directly under the gallery floor was a revelation and has become the line of sight for  the large floor drawing which is slowly revealing itself and creeping across through the space.

I have spent a large amount of time working with paper and drawn line over the last year.  Working on and across different surfaces, paper, films and transparencies, thinking about sections of drawings where the lines draw me to connect with them. 

The rhythm and flow of this floor drawing is responding to the floor and the light as it shifts during the day.  The imagery has been taken directly from the stone lithograph drawings created in the space at the beginning of the residency.  Using the stone surface to record the traces of the building, the temperature, the humidity, unseen/unheard frequencies vibrating around us as well as the physical gesture of my hand. 

I also bought the hand cut panels of Measuring States back into the gallery this week, having discussed the potential of including them in the final presentation and I wanted to see how their presence changed the space. 
The panels were created right at the beginning of the project; initially two panels were cut to explore how we might read a drawing, which has been created through erasure.   A third larger panel was cut to continue and extend this idea further pushing the papers material integrity as the voids became more complex.  
These panels will sit in direct conversation with the floor drawing disrupting the line of sight and light within the gallery.

Throughout the project conversations have informed and shaped my thinking.  I am extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed to the research and supported me over the last couple of years.  Part of the funding from ACE has provided me with the opportunity to produce a small publication to help document and bring together this research.  Wonderful contributions by Penny Florence and Anna Souter provide written responses to my artworks and waking journeys.
I am delighted that this publication is now available to view online, printed copies will be available during the exhibition at AirSpace. Click on this link to open in your browser – porosity.

TRACY HILL was born in Birmingham and studied Fine Art at Bournville School of Art, Birmingham, Sheffield Hallam University and The University of Central Lancashire, Preston.

Hill’s cross-disciplinary practice investigates and reconsiders the relationship between our developing digital capabilities and the aesthetics of the traditional hand created mark.

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