The University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts and Carlisle City Council launched Immersion/Emergence, a new contemporary art residency, funded by Arts Council England in January 2017.
A call for submissions generated 28 responses nationwide with 7 artists selected to develop their proposals further. Following a proposal exhibition and presentation to a panel of judges two artists, Laura M R Harrison and John Dummett, were awarded the six month residency.
Through their work for the residencies the artists selected have been asked to reflect in some way on recent floods in Carlisle. Floods are regular environmental events which, owing to their increasing frequency and severity, pose a growing threat to much of the world’s population. How we respond to this threat demands that we draw on faculties and insights previously untested. In Carlisle for instance, thousands of people were affected and every one of those people carries experiences and stories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives – stories made at the unruly intersection of the elemental and the domestic – of despair, resourcefulness and resilience.
Laura M R Harrison’s work tracks water courses, from the hills to the sea and the range of emotional effects their turbulent and quiet spaces provoke. Characteristically, she films during the hours of darkness where sound plays as important a part as what is seen. In the fieldwork and later through her installations, Laura adjusts and recalibrates our relationship to a physical world beyond our control.
‘Philosophy needs to recover the darkness that comes not as a menacing stranger but as a gift of the night, the time of philosophising.’
‘Water is visually compelling, to the extent that many writers have described it as numinous and hypnotic…gazing upon water was mesmerizing, or induced ‘meditative’ states of being’