This work was made in 2010 after a residency with the British Antarctic Survey in 2009. More information about the background of this series of Antarctic work can be found here. There are also more images of this specific piece here.
In this work I use a tiny copy of the poem- ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ that is sold online as an accessory for doll’s houses. The writer- Samuel Taylor Coleridge- was initially inspired to write this poem after a visit to Watchet in 1797. This connection to the site of the exhibition led to this work becoming part of the show. However, it also became my own personal point of access when it came to developing the other work for the exhibition which was all new.
The box on the wall is actually a sledge box from Antarctica. Inside is a camera tripod. On top of the tripod is a seabird ecologist’s albatross identification ring. Normally a tracking device is fixed to this ring with cable ties. This device stores information on how many thousand miles the bird has flown in a season. Here, the tracking device is replaced by the doll’s house version of ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. In the floor of the box is a full size copy of a Coleridge poetry book, speakers are set into it and a recording plays when the door of the sledge box is open.
The first voice on the recording is of a member of the crew on an Antarctic ship (a real mariner) who relays a story of how he had to pick up an albatross to throw it into the air after it had crash landed on the ship. The second voice is the seabird ecologist explaining the migrating habits of the wandering albatross.