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Eight small excavations of 0.071 cubic feet (the volume of one breath), delineating the constellation of 'Vela' on the island of Islay, off the west coast of Scotland.

Left panel: The constellation of 'Vela', on an Ordnance Survey map of Islay. Right panel: Eight pairs of photographs of the eight excavations.

This being the first of 3 new pieces based on an idea that emerged from work I made in the early 1970s.

The 'One Breath' pieces of 1972 and 1973, were small excavations of 0.071 cubic feet of earth - the volume of one breath - made at various locations...
The individual locations had an emotional resonance for me, but there was no physical, or intellectual, relationship between them...

At the time of making these pieces I wanted to use the physical relationship between the individual excavations, to create a piece that had a more universal resonance...
And I decided to use the - now abandoned - constellation of 'Argo Navis', as the template for that physical relationship.

'Argo Navis' was one of Ptolemy's original constellations, but it was eventually abandoned and divided into three separate constellations:
Vela (The Sails), Carina (The Keel), and Puppis (The Stern) in 1930; although the first proposal to do this had actually been made as early as 1841.

I intended to make the first set of 'small excavations' - forming 'Vela' (The Sails) - on the Scottish island of Islay,
and in 1973 I bought an Ordnance Survey map of the island; plotting the positions of the eight, 'One Breath' excavations that would be needed...

But unfortunately, that was as far as I got.
Firstly: I hadn't the money, or the resources, to make the trip up to Scotland from London.
And secondly: The likelihood of the finished piece actually being shown anywhere, looked essentially non-existent.

But now, some 43 years later, I have been able to make a start on creating the pieces I first envisaged all those years ago...

[As a footnote, could I add that the photographs on Islay were taken with the original Nikon camera
that I used to photograph the 'One Breath' and 'Life Line' pieces in the 1970s...]

Argo Navis:1. Excavation 8: East of Kilchiaran near Loch Conailbhe, Islay.

(The lower, far left point of the constellation Vela, on the Ordnance Survey map above)

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