Sounding Line

Mella Shaw
FORM: a season of exhibitions by contemporary female sculptors, presented by Summerhall Arts
Fri 01 Dec 2023   -  Sun 25 Feb 2024
11am - 5pm Wed - Sun
_ Entry: Free
_ Venue: War Memorial Library and Sciennes Galleries

Mella Shaw is an artist and an environmental activist using themes of balance, tipping points, fragility, and loss to raise awareness and inspire change.

In this work her focus is on the overuse of marine sonar which is having a devastating effect on particularly deep-diving whale species that rely on echolocation. This sonar is used by the military and by companies searching for new gas and old reserves. With permission from Nature Scot Mella has made her own clay body using bone-ash from the remains of a Northern bottlenose whale beached on the West Coast of Scotland. She has used this to make large-scale sculptural forms inspired by whales’ tiny inner-ear bones.

A Sounding Line is a rope dropped from a boat to the seabed to measure depth at sea. Here Mella has wrapped her sculptures in red rope that resonate with sonar pulse. Visitors are encouraged to touch the ropes that are wrapped around the forms, thereby feeling the vibration travel in their bodies and to reflect on the lived experience of the whales themselves.

The installation is accompanied by a short film documenting a return journey taking one of the unfired sculptural forms back into the Sea in South Uist, Outer Hebrides. The film is showing in the Sciennes Gallery directly opposite this space.

Funded by Creative Informatics and Creative Edinburgh With thanks to Theodore Koterwas, David Evans, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and Summerhall Arts.

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