#forest floor covered with moving cocktail umbrellas/christmas tree worms


This idea is borne out of seeing christmas tree worms whilst diving in Africa, they’re bloody mental. Inspiration is also drawn from seeing eel gardens…both magical experiences that I would like to try and evoke by using cocktail umbrellas, a ready made simplified christmas tree worm that could be mechanised; a familiar object transformed into another ‘living species’.

Alternatively the umbrellas could all be put very closely together in rows to form a bigger picture that opens and closes in unison similar to that seen at sporting events etc when everyone holds up individual colours etc to create a massive image.

Can start on a small scale and go from there…

just ordered 144 umbrellas from the world wide web…need to find some wire, gears/cogs, tubing and whatnot


cocktail umbrellas and a bicycle

Cocktail umbrellas and a bicycle. Today, 20.10.14, I have been working on this project. An apsect of my working methods became clearer; the structure of this research journal is starting to highlight a few things – I have a tendency to continually think about my work however I will distract myself with other things, at the moment surfing (or attempting to) is the major distraction/antidote/balancer/form of meditation and cogitation. I have also a acquired a battered old bike that I intend to fix up and attempt to make a bit of money from. Today I spent hours sanding the bike frame down, distracting myself from my research, yet all the time I was thinking about the cocktail umbrellas (except for the blissful moments when all I thought about was sanding) until I reached a point where I had to have a go and see what happened: when that happened I worked intensely and solidly, completely focused…the sanding was some form of focusing and in turn is maybe part of my practice? part of my research? part of my methodology? the same is true of getting into the water with a surfboard and being thoroughly humbled by mother nature…the whole shebang is part of my practice, part of my research?


Here’s a video to have a gander at, the password is abitteredsling. The audio is from a dive I went on in Dahab, Egypt in 2013…this is important; a symbol of where the inspiration came from. Below is documentation of initial attempts to animate the umbrellas; it’s going to be more complicated than I first thought and I need to do more research into cams, cogs, automata, linkages etc…maybe pull a few things apart. The video is an attempt at crudely animating an umbrella, an initial test. The wire was roughly attached and, as a result, the umbrella fairly rapidly started to break and it’s movements became laboured. The breathing in the soundtrack, the sound of scuba appears to sync up with the umbrella’s attempts to live, the accidental knock to the tripod towards the end freakily looks like the image is underwater.

The next stage is to figure out the engineering side/the mechanics and, as has been suggested during recent discussions, the possibility of the umbrellas disappearing into ‘subterranean’ holes further mimicking the christmas tree worms. Lots to do.

a miniature beach

A miniature beach made of something found on the beach





basic attempt at a cam..definitely need to do some reading about gears, linkages and whatnot

A basic attempt at a cam..definitely need to do some reading about gears, linkages and whatnot

these are canvas stretcher spacers secured with panel pins to a piece of drift wood, a tiny gust of wind blew out the cocktail umbrella

These are canvas stretcher spacers secured with panel pins to a piece of drift wood; like the idea of using already existing objects/components echoing the idea of everything that exists being made of parts of something else that already exists, or has existed, or is yet to exist. A tiny gust of wind that swept across the beach blew over the umbrella. Fact.

initial 'engineering' attempts...it was late

Initial ‘engineering’ attempts…it was late. NB: like many beaches around the world it, and the surrounding waters, are full of crap


cranks and cams


crank possibility


Talking about crap found on beaches, this image is from the December National Geographic. these ‘rocks’ are being washed up in Hawaii…composed of plastic, sand and basalt…shit, it’s happening…our legacy in the earth’s crust will be a plastic layer. Seems fitting with this project to use it as a way of highlighting the plastic throwaway waste that fills the oceans and it’s inhabitants.