Angela Cockayne

The Whale as Muse

Whale board

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click image to enlarge

Spermwhale Surf Board made in collaboration with

String Theory

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Pewter and Rawhide (click image to enlarge)

What defines personhood?

Human traits potentially shared with cetacean

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Humans and Cetaceans whale

click link to listen to interview and image to enlarge

The relationship between humans and cetaceans has long been something of a paradox. We are drawn to their mystery and intelligence, in awe of their size and grace, yet we hunted many whales to near extinction, and use dolphins for military maneuvers and entertainment. Philip Hoare has been exploring the human interaction with cetaceans for the better part of his life. He’s the author of several books including “Leviathan or, The Whale” and, most recently, of “The Sea Inside.” He’s also curator of Cape Whale a week long exhibit at the SEA Space Gallery at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown and co-curator of the Moby-Dick Big Read.

<p>Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher,&nbsp;<em>The Osedax Etchings</em>, 2010, crater: Photogravure on Hannemuhle Copperplate paper, isolates: four photogravures with spit-bite, etching, hardground, softground, hand stamping, cut and collaged bas relief on Japanese paper, crater: 29 &times; 36 1/4 inches (73.7 &times; 92 cm); Isolates: 28 &times; 26 inches each (71.1 &times; 66 cm), edition of 10</p>

Cape Whale

Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher, The Osedax Etchings, 2010, crater: Photogravure on Hannemuhle Copperplate paper, isolates: four photogravures with spit-bite, etching, hardground, softground, hand stamping, cut and collaged bas relief on Japanese paper, crater: 29 × 36 1/4 inches (73.7 × 92 cm); Isolates: 28 × 26 inches each (71.1 × 66 cm), edition of 10

BY Philip Hoare
April 23, 2015

Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher’s Osedax Etchings are inspired by the discovery in 2002 of a previously unknown “bone-eating” worm, identified among the remains of a massive gray whale. In “Cape Whale,” the current exhibition at SEASpace Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the etchings are presented alongside maritime and biological ruminations by John Waters, Pat de Groot, Matt Kish, and others.

Here, Philip Hoare, the exhibition’s curator and author of The Sea Inside (2014), reflects on the ocean’s essential role—and particularly that of the elusive whale—in art and literature.

They were nearly all Islanders in the Pequod, Isolatoes too, I call such, not acknowledging the common continent of men, but each Isolato living in a separate continent of his own.  Yet now, federated along one keel, what a set these Isolatoes were! An Anarcharsis Clootz deputation from all the isles of the sea, and all the ends of the earth, accompanying Old Ahab in the Pequod to lay the world’s grievances before that bar from which not very many of them ever come back.
—Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

They came from Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Verde, the Azores, and New Zealand; Starbuck, Stubb and Flask; Queequeg, Tashtego and Daggoo; New Englanders, Native Americans and African Americans, islanders all, set out to seek the whale. Conjured out of Melville’s metaphorical prose, these men sail out in their ship of fools, led by the monomaniacal Ahab in search of a great white whale, which may or may not have existed.

Melville’s extraordinary act of imagination veers out of his past and into our future. His book drew on contemporary artists such as J.M.W.Turner, as well as Romantic poets such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a visual sensibility evoked  in chapters such as ‘The Whiteness of the Whale’, and ‘Of The Monstrous Pictures of Whales’, ‘Of Whales in Paint; In Teeth; In Wood; In Sheet Iron; In Stone; In Mountains; In Stars’. In digressive, subversive text, Melville interrogates our  frenetic attempts to encompass these enigmatic animals within our culture. It is just another aspect of the prophetic nature of his prose that, a century and a half after his book was published, contemporary whale scientists are exploring the notion that whales themselves have a matrilineal culture, passed down in immemorial generations that outlive our own.

In Ellen Gallagher’s work we trace that same association between meaning and symbol, between beauty and abuse. The artist’s Isolatoes are bitten and inscribed like scrimshaw, with ghostly faces that evoke a mysterious other world, perhaps even a kind of watery Utopia. This could be the world of the Ancient Mariner, too, haunted by the death of an albatross which glimmered out of the ‘white Moon-shine’, as much it evokes the ‘grand hooded phantoms’ of whales which suffuse the pages of Moby-Dick. Such layers lie upon layers like the memory of bones and teeth, shapes forming and reforming, sliding between gender and identity, between belonging and loss. The whale’s whiteness becomes blackness, and Ahab’s sway is overturned. In the end, it is the whale who wins.

So we too are overturned by the whale. But this is a different whale from the one that once represented fear and finance and industry. Our whale swims freighted with our new besetting sins in an altered climate. Where it once lit and lubricated our world, now it acts as an avatar of change. As Melville proved, only art has the power to encompass these psychic slips, so abruptly accomplished in the space of a generation. When I was a boy, the port city of Southampton where I was born was still receiving ships from the South Atlantic, laden with whale oil destined to enter the food chain, or to become the make-up on my mother’s cheek which brushed mine as she kissed me good night.

Here on the Cape, from where I write—itself only an arm of sand held out into the Atlantic—whales occupy a fluid space, in a place which is hardly a place at all.  Out here, as I write from my desk overlooking the bay, in whose chilly rising waves I have just swum, as I do every day, the blue-green sea is coursed by leviathans.  I watched them yesterday, scything through the waves, their sleek glistening bodies both part of and apart from the world.  Humpbacks, right whales and fin whales, feeding furiously as gannets dioved explosively, dolphins and porpoises leaping like outriders about them.  These are the presiding spirits of the Cape and islands, as eerie as they are physical.  Little wonder that Melville imagined Nantucketers sleeping with herds of walruses and whales under their pillows, or the captains of New Bedford who dragged their houses up from the bottom of the sea as their harpooned bounty of whales.

Their ghosts, human and cetacean, imbue the Cape with its sense of merging. Out on the beach at Herring Cove, where the bay meets the ocean, the winter storms have uncovered gigantic fragments of a shipwreck, which might as well be a Phoenician galley or an alien craft.  One summer, swimming in a temporary lagoon formed by a sand bar there, I looked down to see another wreck beneath me: the remains of a decomposing humpback whale, its giant flipper all but beckoning to me from below.  This place embodies our tentative apprehension.  It is an abiding reminder of the fatal meeting of human and natural history.

“Cape Whale,” which includes Ellen Gallagher’s Isolatoes and Edgar Ceijine’s Crater in the series, The Osedax Prints, is an attempt to bring together artists and ideas around this watery part of the world: from Matt Kish’s ambitious project to illustrate every page of Moby-Dick, to John Waters’ admission that, in all his fifty summers in Provincetown, he has only ever seen a whale from the plane. From Conny Hatch’s Narwhal, created out of beach-combed salvage, to Pat de Groot’s meditations on the sublime conjunctions of sea and sky. From Timothy Woodman’s beaten copper panel impressed with the opening lines of Melville’s epic, to Jo Hay’s portrait of a whale, approached in the same way John Singer Sargent might have painted an Edwardian aristocrat, and Angela Cockayne’s phrenological pewter whale, marked with the departments of its soul.

“Cape Whale” seeks to bridge that gap between human and whale, between our two-dimensional world and that which lies beneath what Melville called the ocean’s skin, the membrane that divides us: a three-dimensional world containing ninety-per-cent of all life on earth, and yet about which we know almost nothing. But art, like science, can only propose more questions, and having written hundreds of thousands of words about the whale, Melville could only conclude, “I know him not, and never will.”

Philip Hoare is the author of The Whale and The Sea Inside, and co-curator of the online project, the Moby-Dick Big Read, Twitter: @philipwhale

Cape Whale,” featuring work by Ellen Gallagher, Edgar Cleijne, John Waters, Pat de Groot, Matt Kish, Angela Cockayne, Timothy Woodman, Jo Hay, and others is on view at SEASpace Gallery, Provincetown, Massachusetts through May 3, 2015

Cape Whale

Cape Whale: A New Look Through Art, Science and Culture” at SEASpace Gallery, Provincetown USA

Ever since Herman Melville wrote Moby-Dick,  the whale has provoked a paradox.  As huge as it is, so is its mystery.   No other animal so personifies the fraught meeting between human and  natural history.  Now, more than ever, writers, artists, poets and  film-makers are fascinated by what the whale means to us.  For a  generation we have seen whales in terms of natural spectacle or  environmental threat.  But what of their cultural impact?  It’s a  question which becomes ever more urgent as scientists suggest that  whales themselves have a culture of their own.

These are the issues to be addressed by Cape Whale,  a ground-breaking event sponsored by the Appearances Eco-Arts Festival,  supported by the Provincetown Cultural Council, hosted by the  Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies’s SEA gallery space, and curated  by award-winning British writer and friend of Provincetown, Professor  Philip Hoare, author of The Whale and The Sea Inside.

Negotiating fast-changing scientific, environmental, and cultural issues, Cape Whale will bring together provocative and lively debates, performances, art  and films from artists, writers and scientists from the Cape and  beyond.  It will examine not only the physical power of the whale, but  what it has to say about identity, sexuality, and race, as represented  in cultural reactions from Moby-Dick to Whale Rider and beyond.

As scientists and conservationists propose whales as ‘non-human persons’ deserving of their own rights, Cape Whale will raise the implications of such moves.  Have we  discovered  ‘aliens’ among us?  How can art help us deal with the challenges facing  an animal which could be said to be the presiding spirit of Cape Cod?   How does the way we have dealt with the whale in the past reflect on  our  present and future?

Cape Whale will consist of a ten day exhibition of multi-media art work by leading local and  international contemporary artists, responding to our theme.  This  adventurous project will be accompanied by three specific events:
1. An evening of remarkable short films interspersed with readings and responses
2. A panel on ‘whale culture’ involving experts in the fields of art and science.
3. A whale watch trip that will bring us close to the animals  themselves, and which will invite immediate literary and artistic  responses from participants.

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March 18, 2015

Moby-Dick Goes Viral


In two years the reached a global audience of four million but last month alone one and a half million additional downloads pushed the stats to 5.5 million which is astounding for an unfunded project which has also raised significant funding for a marine protection charity.
HUGE thanks again to all involved who kindly gave their time for free bringing this incredible book alive to so many,  to those who downloaded the chapters and joined our virtual community, and those who have donated to WDC.  A new Big Read project is now underway details to be announced soon.

The Pulpit, Plaster, bronze, pewter & bone.

February 2, 2015

C’est ne pas une cachelot

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MRK drawingCollapsed roof posts bored by woodworm.

Frozen, treated and filled with found hedgehog spines and imported Montana porcupine quills  (roadkill)

The depth and direction determined by the absent woodworm.

January 19, 2015

Moby Dick Big Read reaches a global audience of 10 million this month. The Telegraph lists it as one of the best podcasts with 8,300 visitors still visiting the site each week.

Moby Dick Big Read reaches a global audience of 10 million this month. The Telegraph lists it as one of the best podcasts with 8,300 visitors still visiting the site each week.

The best podcasts for stories, fiction and poetry
The best story and poetry podcasts including short stories, readings of    fiction and real-life dramas, selected and updated by Pete Naughton

Adnan Syed was convicted of the murder of his then girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999
By Pete Naughton     5:45PM GMT 14 Jan 2015

Created by the team behind This    American Life, Serial is an innovative, gripping and artfully    constructed weekly podcast that’s been topping iTunes’s charts on both sides    of the Atlantic since its debut in early October. Presented and executive    produced by the journalist Sarah Koenig, it’s a real-time investigation of    some murky inconsistencies in a real-life murder case: namely, that of a    Baltimore high school student Hae Min Lee, who was killed in 1999 and whose    ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, is currently serving time for her murder — even    though there are some compelling arguments for his innocence.
The    Moth

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The case of Adnan Syed – the killer made famous by the Serial podcast

Close on twenty years ago, the American poet and novelist George Dawes Green    set up a New York-based storytelling group inspired by the languorous summer    evenings in his home state of Georgia, where people gather on porches,    amongst dozens of fluttering moths, and shoot the breeze. It soon gathered    momentum, spreading to other cities and expanding to include a variety of    live events, a radio show and this fantastic podcast. Each episode features    one or more storytellers recounting an episode from their own life in front    of a live audience; participants range from the famous (Salman Rushdie,    Annie Proulx, Malcolm Gladwell) to the unknown — and they almost never fail    to hold the attention.

Moby Dick Big Read
Herman Melville’s strange, wondrous novel about a captain’s quest for revenge    on a sperm whale is brought rather stylishly into the podcast age by this    series, masterminded by the author Philip Hoare and the artist Angela    Cockayne. Each of the book’s 135 chapters is read by a different person,    among them Tilda Swinton (#1), David Cameron (#30), Benedict Cumberbatch    (#58) and Sir David Attenborough (#105).
The Truth
Billing themselves as the creators of “short films without pictures”,    the producers behind this award–winning series of audio dramas record their    work on location, improvise much of the dialogue and make a point of trying    things that others wouldn’t dream of. Plenty of room for disaster, then –    but by some alchemical magic, they almost always pull it off. To give a few    recent examples, they’ve written a play (Falling) about a man and a woman    who become romantically involved after a near–fatal accident on a train    platform; a dark satire (The Modern Prometheus) about a corporation that    becomes a sentient being; and, in The Death of Poe, a brilliant reimagining    of what Edgar Allan Poe’s final hours might have been like.
Poetry    Foundation
The Poetry Foundation – an American nonprofit dedicated to bolstering the    presence of poetry in modern culture – has a wide variety of engaging audio    content, from roundtable discussions of new poetry to selections of oddly    compelling ‘found sound’ from the UbuWeb archive. Perhaps the easiest sell,    though, is their Poem of the Day strand, which does exactly what it says on    the tin — with daily readings of everything from Thomas Hardy to Seamus    Heaney to Sharon Olds.
The Penguin Podcast
Malcolm Gladwell, John Le Carré, Jennifer Saunders, and dozens of other    notable Penguin authors have recently appeared on this lively podcast strand    by the publishing powerhouse. Episodes are structured around a given theme    rather than just spotlighting the latest releases – and contain enough food    for thought to make their promotional drive (i.e. “buy more Penguin books!”)    palatable.
Welcome to Night Vale   
Every fortnight, for the last 16 months or so, a devoted and exponentially    expanding group of subscribers have been regaled with the news from the    small fictional town of Night Vale, located in a desert somewhere in the    south–western United States. The dispatches, read in gloriously deadpan    fashion by Cecil Baldwin, are by turns surreal, hilarious and darkly    unsettling – and unlike anything else on the internet at the moment.
KCRW’s UnFictional
Santa Monica College’s excellent KCRW station makes a variety of standout    podcasts, from their one–song–a–day download Today’s Top Tune (http://    Today’s Top Tune) to longer spoken–word dispatches.One of my favourites in the    latter category is UnFictional, which gives a platform to independent radio    producers who have a compelling real–life story to tell. Hosted and curated    by KCRW producer Bob Carlson, it’s a veritable smorgasbord of human    interest, with recent highlights including the tale of how one of the most    wanted men in America was living a life of blameless domesticity in LA and a    first–person account of work as a nuclear missile operator.
Easy French Poetry
The title of this podcast may sound suspiciously oxymoronic, but its creator    – an internet–savvy language tutor called Camille Chevalier–Karfis – makes a    noble effort to be good to her word. Each poem is read twice, once slowly,    once at normal speed. Ideal for intermediate French speakers looking to give    their language a bit more va va voom; or for people like me, who can’t speak    French but like hearing Rimbaud and Baudelaire in the original anyway.
The Adventures of    Huckleberry Finn
Beloved of great writers – F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, TS Eliot –    and lay readers alike, Mark Twain’s seminal novel is a work that manages to    be both entertaining and profound. As you probably know, it follows a young    boy as he journeys along the Mississippi river on a raft accompanied by an    escaped slave called Jim, and contains some searingly funny portraits of the    antebellum South. This audiobook podcast, sensitively performed by Marc    Devine, is the next best thing to reading it in person.
True Story
Fans of the wonderful ‘The Moth’ storytelling podcast (The Moth)    will almost certainly fall for this slightly more raw and homespun series,    in which ordinary people tell extraordinary stories from their lives in    front of a small audience. Listening in is a marvellously voyeuristic    experience, like eavesdropping at a lively dinner party; and the anecdotes    are by turns gripping, funny, poignant and surreal. Recent highlights    include a kindergarten–teacher–cum–rock–’n’rollband member telling a story    of how he was nearly electrocuted to death by a guitar amp and an elderly    Texan gentleman recounting his barefoot pursuit of a man who’d tried to    burgle his car.
Spark London
A few times a month, Spark London hosts storytelling events around the    capital, where people gather to share short true stories from their own    lives in front of an appreciative audence. This lovely podcast stream    collects individual stories from the events and makes for some stirring,    bracingly varied listening – taking in stories from war-torn Uganda,    election-crazed Paris, drizzly Hackney and beyond.
Snap    Judgement
This long-running American podcast allows regular people who have lived    through challenging, strange or painful experiences to tell their stories –    often with fantastically emotive results. To give a particularly moving    recent example, episode #324 featured the recollections of a 93 year-old    British veteran called Tom Tate, who narrowly avoided death during the    Second World War thanks in part to the kindness of an anonymous German    woman.
Every weekday morning at ten to eight, the BBC World Service broadcasts an    episode of this wonderful series in which people who were present at    defining historical events talk about their experiences. It’s a little sad    to think that the majority of the British listening public – glued as we are    then to the Today programme or Chris Evans – regularly miss it; but    thankfully it’s available as a podcast as well. Recent highlights include    firsthand memories of F Scott Fitzgerald, the exposé of a secret US attack    on Cambodia during the Vietnam War and Sir Stanley Matthews’s careerdefining    performance in the 1953 FA Cup final.
Selected Shorts
This superb podcast series invites talented actors from stage, screen and TV    to read fantasticshort stories by some of the masters of the form – among    them Haruki Murakami, Annie Proulx and Jack Finney. The results, recorded    live at New York’s Peter Sharp Theater, are regularly scintillating with a    wide range of stories covered.
Love + Radio
What is it like to be a professional blackmailer? Or to live through a    stroke? Or to run a strip club out of your own home? This award-winning    podcast by Chicago-based radio director Nick van der Kolk has the intriguing    answers. Each episode focuses on a different story, presented via an artful,    almost dreamlike tapestry of music, recorded interviews and segments    recorded by voice actors. The results blend elements of This American Life    and Radiolab, and are regularly enthralling.Mike    Detective
Combining the hard-boiled atmosphere of crime serials on American radio in    the Forties and Fifties with the goofball comedy of the Naked Gun films,    this podcast series is sure to please anyone with a love of the PI genre. It    follows the exploits of Mike Detective (voiced by the Amereican actor and    comedian Rob Huebel), an unlicensed, uninsured and expletive-prone private    eye, as he embarks on a variety of strange, ill-fated and often hilarious    cases, further enlivened by cameo appearances from Jon Hamm, Zach    Galifianakis and Henry Winkler. Episodes clock in around the five minute    mark; and I can particularly recommend the eleventh episode, Lucky Number    Seven.
The    Thrilling Adventure Hour
Recorded in front of a live Californian audience, this charming, sharply    written series playfully replicates the style of old time American radio    shows, with recurring drama segments (Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars, The    Cross-Time Adventures of Colonel Tick-Tock), musical interludes, and ads for    fictionalised products like Patriot Cigarettes and WorkJuice Coffee.
The    Memory Palace
Made by an award-winning radio producer called Nate DiMeo, this spellbinding    series presents a small, perfectly-formed story in each episode. Topics    range from a miraculous celestial array witnessed by an American astronaut    and the terrifying day in 1848 when Niagara Falls stopped falling to the    social history of the lobster — and, amazingly, they’re all true. Also    available via The Memory Palace.
Poems    That Make Grown Men Cry
Some years ago, the journalist and author Anthony Holden noticed that certain    poems had a mysterious capacity to draw tears from otherwise dry-eyed men.    “There’s an anthology in this,” he thought, and now – with assistance from    Holden’s son Ben and in association with Amnesty International – there is.    This lovely video podcast, recorded at the National Theatre, features poetry    readings by a handful of contributors to the book — including Ian McEwan,    Simon Russell Beale, Ben Okri, and Melvyn Bragg.


December 26, 2014


narwhal3 72                                                  Narwhal 72

November 1, 2014


blinkered 72

October 20, 2014

Hierarchies of Gaze

Growing up I remember trying to leap from my bedroom door to my bed frightened of a crocodile I imagined lurked beneath, once in bed I worried about the imminent Russian invasion and the threat of nuclear war. I was delighted to be born in 1959 a female, so I would not have to go fight in the trenches, tanks or similar. It would seem every generation has it’s own crocodiles that patrol our mortality.

What fearful scenarios invade our children’s imaginations today? Faceless and masked terrorists, Ebola, famines, global warming, environmental catastrophe to name but a few. It has become difficult to form allegiances to support and to address such issues when there are so many; we become ‘war weary’ and tend to bury our heads in the sand.

Fifty years on it is still difficult to address some of these issues. I now imagine a crocodile on my ceiling as an escape from some of the harder realities of life. Is it any more comforting to know that the mortality rate attributed to the common cold or flu  is significantly higher than those who have sadly recently died through Ebola, 500,000 flu deaths a year world wide, perhaps more alarmingly 1.24 million die each year world wide from car accidents.

How do we culturally and ethically address such issues without injecting fear into the veins of the mass population by media hype? Should we stop reading the news or approach such matters obliquely. Personally I try to do the latter confront the evidence or research and repackage it in away that is digestible to my own sensitivities. Through a curious visual language often exploring metaphor and myth.

If the science, or “truth’ gives us fact and evidence to solve questions, art creates curiosity. It asks questions rather than gives answers, creating space for ambiguity, new narratives – and more questions. Importantly art allows a viewer to think for themselves as a conduit the work offers the viewer scope to fill in the missing gaps and engage in a new narrative the work might evoke- thus creating dialogue, new responsibility and new potential ownership of an idea.

It is five hundred years since the Wunderkammer housed a united field of interdisciplinary enquiry, in an age before disciplines became separate under museums of science, nature and art. Fifty years ago CP Snow’s lecture on ‘Two Cultures’ mourned such separation; Edward O Wilson’s recent call echoed the desire for consilience of disciplines through a unity of knowledge.

Perhaps through a reunification, of art, science and nature, exploring a curious even subversive gaze we can confront the sceptical and represent the undeniable evidence of our trajectory through wonderment and engaging visual narratives to reflect upon our actions.

Like the crocodile under my bed these fears and realities may or may not exist but may remain mythical in their effect. We have to confront the issues of the world we inhabit, it is with what gaze we wish to communicate our enquiry, which is of interest to me.

Curiosita- Pewter, Leather, Vegetable Ivory Whale, Teeth, Eye Shell and Claws

With technological advancement of the democratised access of the Internet perhaps we can now facilitate worldviews exploring our natural curiosity through creativity and the rational. Now in the 21st century, we can investigate and explore a global dialogue between art, science, and our environment through collaborative partnership in context of current ethical debate.

Subaltern– Pewter, Pearls Teeth, Horseshoe Crab Carapace

September 2, 2014

Bournemouth Art Festival

Angela Cockayne & Philip Hoare’s filmed performance prior to talk

Arts By The Sea Festival

Angela Cockayne & Philip Hoare’s filmed performance prior to talk

Artist Angela Cockayne and author Philip Hoare collaborate on a  filmed performance, using artwork, objects, text, and spoken word.  Drawing the overarching symbol and shape of the sperm whale, Dominion  will be a multilayered and allusive attempt to come to terms with a  shared history between human and whale, between human history and  natural history, and the liminal region in between.

Dominion incorporates Cockayne’s chimerical objects, part animal,  part sculpture, with Hoare’s physical interaction with sperm whales.  Using artwork and text thrown up by this new meeting of art and  literature, the result is an aesthetic sermon on the state of the whale  and the world, based on Herman Melville’s 1851 classic Moby-Dick. 2009  Music composed by Nick Atkinson
15 mins played continuously on loop at Bournemouth Natural Science Society
Wednesday 8 October prior to talk from 19.00 £7
Sat 11 and Sun 12 October 10.00 – 16.00

Philip Hoare and Angela Cockayne – The Sea Inside

Talk and Exhibition
Philip Hoare, award-winning author of Leviathan, The Whale and The Sea Inside,  sets out to rediscover the sea and its animals. From Southampton to the  Azores, Sri Lanka, Tasmania and New Zealand, he travels in search of  birds, whales, and the way we humans have interacted with them.  Accompanying Philip for this talk is artist Angela Cockayne.
Cockayne uses found objects to create provocative assemblies of  discarded bottles and gannets’ wings, human hair and antique rifles and  lobster-clawed women. Beautiful and disturbing, they concern the natural  world and the human predicament. Her work will be on display at BNSS  during the Open Weekend
An Arts Bournemouth event.

August 27, 2014

Flourish & Thrive


Sand Cast Pewter




August 24, 2014


arc whale

August 21, 2014

Weapons of Mass Extinction



Harpoons, flights, and shafts combined with bird wings, beaks, and fish fins and tails found on shorelines.

Nature’s armory against anthropogenic dominion.



August 7, 2014



Cast wax robins mutated with heron, owl, starling, duck, blackbird, sparrow swallow, pigeon, seagull skulls.

Trench Foot, Wax, thorns, lipstick, barbed wire.



August 4, 2014

Any day now

The robin is a fiercely territorial bird and fights to defend its territory, here they congregate together in protest against war at the start of their journey to St Pauls Cathedral, London… lest we forget

 Window flock

364 robins cast in wax, gathered in a single, nervous mass. As in Hitchcock’s The Birds, the sense of something yet to happen leaves the viewer with a heightened sense of awareness, a primitive superstition, like a walk under ladders.

flock jpeg

We may overlook one robin, a nostalgic seasonal delight, but en masse their presence transforms the space they occupy into an ambiguous and contemplative one.

Cockayne uses her curious mixture of materials with wit and irony. Bird’s beaks are made of thorns, their feet from hair grips and breasts coated with lipstick.

Thematically, the work continues her interest in the poetics of objects and the implication of inherent meaning. She divests objects and images of their conventional meanings, and invites them to address the viewer directly.

stp light

Any day now is a work in transit, it can change, it may split, pairs may separate from the flock to find new homes. Or the birds could band together to fly across the ocean to gather in another small town or city.

For now, they are wild, they perch where they don’t belong and we can’t quite read the omen they’ve brought with them. Good fortune, or to augur catastrophe that might never happen, a danger too tenuous to be put into words.

Maureen Freely


July 15, 2014

The Ark Embrace





An ‘Ol’ wooden ship‘ on her final voyage, now awaits restoration on the Lizard Peninsular, Cornwall England.

Latitude: 50.183106N  Longitude: 5.246911W

The Ark Embrace is a tabula rasa, through a consilience of international public action it will become a wunderkammer of anthropogenic legacy.

An interdisciplinary digital project embracing human achievement across the both the arts and sciences. This curated vessel of nominations will house both things and thoughts worth keeping- celebrating, a someone, something; art, music, text, an invention, an endangered species or simply an idea for the future.

This cabinet of curiosity subverts our gaze, a public action rather than utopic vision- socially, politically and ethically, should the balance with the natural world and environment no longer sustain us.

As the New York Times declines to publish the opinions of climate-change deniers and ecocides, may be time to ditch the doom rhetoric and reflect on things for safe keeping

            climate change is happening
            ice caps are melting
            and sea levels will inevitably rise

The world will not end but scientists now believe the sixth mass extinction may have already begun through over harvesting, habitat destruction, pollution, and unsustainable use of natural resources. We are at a pivotal point in history, nature will address the balance if we continue to consume unsustainably in a finite system and simultaneously destroy our environment in the process. Our fallibility appears to be an inability to think and act long term in a global context.

                                            Perhaps its time to Embrace the future

 The project aims to encourage public engagement with a cross disciplinary dialogue exploring art, natural science, myth and ecology, to celebrate the bridging of wonderment, intuition, reflection, and metaphorical ambiguities with evidence, experiment and exploration through the theme of Wunderkammer aboard the Ark Embrace.

 Now in the 21st century, a generation born digital, our aim is to investigate and explore a dialogue between art, science and ecology through collaborative partnership; a reunification of cultural disciplines to confront the skeptical and represent the undeniable evidence of our ecological trajectory through wonderment and engaging visual narratives.

 This digital cabinet of curiosity, microcosm or memory theatre will be a vehicle for solace, contemplation, wonder and knowledge transfer through a creative dialogue in an age of critical thought, post-media and negotiated meaning. This juxtaposition of ideas, objects and narratives will be a unique collection, finding analogies and parallels for global cultural exchange. If science gives us fact and evidence to solve questions, art creates curiosity; space for ambiguity, new narratives and more questions.

 This interdisciplinary project aims to generate, produce and curate new work for a new generation and consciousness. Work which transmutes the curious gaze, which establishes a dialogue on a scientific-artistic expedition that explores anthropogenic ecocide.

 Exploring the links between art and nature in context of a contemporary global consciousness using technology of an international digital platform our hope is to provide a conduit that acknowledges our environmental responsibility through curiosity and wonderment and a subversive gaze.


                    What would you nominate to preserve to place on board?


‘He swam the seas before the continents broke water; he swam over the site  of the Tuileries, and Windsor Castle, and the Kremlin.  In Noah’s flood  he despised Noah’s Ark; and if ever the world is to be again flooded,  like the Netherlands, to kill off its rats, then the eternal whale will  survive, and rearing upon the topmost crest of the equatorial flood,  spout his frothed defiance to the skies’  ch 105 Moby-Dick Herman Melville

July 15, 2014

Embrace The Future (sea levels will rise)


40 per cent of the earth’s ice-free land mass is now intensively farmed to produce food;
                               only 12 per cent of its rivers run freely to the seas.
Nearly one billion people go hungry every day;
1.5 billion are overweight or obese.Each year, more than 300,000 sea birds die on fishing lines
& 100 million sharks are definned.
Every square kilometre of sea contains 18,500 pieces of floating plastic.

Only 1 per cent of the world’s urban population are breathing air clean
enough to meet EU standards.

As the New York Times declines to publish the opinions of climate-change deniers and ecocides,..

                         it may be time to ditch the doom rhetoric to save the world

climate change is happening
ice caps are melting
and sea levels will inevitably rise

                                           Embrace the future.

From the curators of the Moby Dick Big Read with 10 million downloads to date

                                                  The Ark Embrace

invites you to reflect and

the future

                                   A Literary, Scientific, and Artistic


You are warmly invited to


Something, Someone, an Idea

to Preserve for the future
aboard the ARK Embrace

Art, myth, natural history, ecology and philosophy combine
to celebrate
the bridging of  wonderment, intuition, reflection, and metaphorical ambiguities
with evidence, experimentation and anthropogenic achievement.

Gaze @ 21 Century Wunderkammer for a new generation born digital

re Discover
our greatest achievements

                                Our true intent is all for your delight


at bizarre objects, great concepts – the obscure, the whimsical, and the

wonderful – which defy categorical boundaries