Hauntology refers to the ghostly presence/absence of that which can be read between the lines of an artwork, the invocation of spirit through matter. The concept of hauntology was introduced to me through “Haunted Landscapes”, an anthology of essays edited by Ruth Heholt and Niamh Downing. Inspired to explore the concept of hauntology as it applies to psychogeography: how different locations influence behaviour, I endeavoured to open a space for the expression of genius loci or spirit of place, using local natural materials within this project.
Under lockdown, the focus of my work became my own garden, from which I derived materials such as clay, birch bark, hazel whips and oak-gall ink, as well as materials previously collected from the area by my family and neighbours, such as animal skulls and wood. The temporal influence of Mayday and the coronavirus crisis also fed into the work via the themes of death, of turning inwards and renewal. The processes I underwent to transform these collected raw materials into tangible works connected me to the land from which I took the materials.
As well as hauntology and psychogeography, initial inspiration for the project included British traditions and folklore, and prehistoric art. I used folkloric themes and imaginary beasts as inspiration for the content of my work: such as the green man and cup and ring marks. Abandoning an idea to present my work in the context of a website ostensibly created by an amateur modern antiquarian, I instead concluded my project by creating digital collages using images and artefacts from my garden and the surrounding area.