Check Mate (2023) 

Film made during my time at The Bothy Project 

The highlands was a landscape I had never experienced before and being alone there was a haunting experience. The January hills were a deep purple; they felt bruised and I became increasingly worried about turning my back on them.

During my time there I set up two sensor cameras in the forest surrounding the bothy in an attempt to map what was around me. Every morning I would begin the pilgrimage to check if I had captured anything and all I would have got was a short video of myself eagerly approaching the camera.

I developed a relationship with nature where by I felt I was constantly in a fight with it - tackling with it over our needs to be seen and to be looked after. I felt we were in a game of chess: i’d make my move in the day and then at night I would light the fire, close the door, do sudukos and listen to music while the wind and the rain battered the side of the bothy - I knew nature was taking its turn dealing cards to me that I would have to confront in the morning.

I decided I needed to show the landscape what I was made of and fling energy out of my body at it to take control. I put on a reflective suit I had made out of insolation from mums house and decided to dance. One thing I don’t really do is dance so it felt like an odd calling for me but maybe it was something to do with being so alone, it being so dark and it really felt like the only move I had left in the tank. So for nights on end I built up the courage to put on the suit and trudge to one of the sensor camera and dance. I soon learnt that this wasn’t me taking control of the nature but surrendering. surrendering to it was a theme that followed my time there and started my ‘Hats Off’ series where instead of holding my hat down I just left the wind take it.

In the end, apart from myself, these deer are the only animals I captured on the cameras during my time there. I feel connected to them and knowing there were there made me feel less alone  and I realise I was dancing for them. SeaBirds was a song that brought me company during those dark nights. I’d go back in a heartbeat.