“Holed up in London during lockdown, my work for Televistas (morethanponies.info/televistas) involves being inside a wood – a deep pocket of nature that has been protected, an asylum of sorts. Forest bathing. I wanted to be on the inside, looking out.
But the woods are also a dangerous place to the people of ‘civilization’… Not yet out of the woods is a phrase that we are going to keep on hearing during our long entanglement with the pandemic.
Reading about the ecology of the New Forest, I learned that 13 of the UK’s 18 beleaguered bat species have asylum there. Bats are totemic creatures onto which we project strangeness, even menace. That potent image has now become super-charged by the origin story of Covid-19. Along with the rest of the natural world bat habitats are being destroyed at a terrifying rate. But they’ve been around for 50 million years. They don’t want anything to do with us, and this whole thing is not their fault.
I needed to keep myself sane during lockdown and there is no better way for me to do this than to work with papier-maché.
I made a horseshoe bat’s-head mask,
I made a skeleton.
I made a miniature landscape-vista by collecting twigs and moss from the local cemetery, scraping it off the gravestones.
I put it on a rotating platform designed for retail commodity display.
I rigged up a very basic blue-screen set-up in my room.
I started listening to a fair bit of David Bowie.
I wanted to do something playful and foolishly anthropomorphic.
I wanted the bats to have a right of reply.”
- Thanks to Paul Tarragó for bat performance and lighting