Its soil was a plot she do the tree in different voices (2017)

Its soil was a plot she do the tree in different voices is composed of several connected elements: a 16mm film, sculpture, sound installation and script. The work responds to the landscape around West Yorkshire listed as ‘waste’ in the Domesday survey of 1086. This idea of waste and its sculptural potential enters into conversation with the surpluses of writing and film; asides, footnotes, and the rejected matter produced through the editing process. The work is currently shown across three sites at Yorkshire Sculpture Park: the archive, Bothy Gallery and 19th century Camellia House, as part of the group exhibition commissioned by Art Licks, 'On the heights', open until December 2017.

Each element is experienced as a spectre of the other, as a non-linear spatial film.

In the Archive, a film projection depicts the process of removing a large, fallen Sycamore tree from the Park’s upper lake, where tree limbs are projected as ‘frames’ from the mouth of a wood-chipping machine, the Timber Wolf. The film combines these scenes with shots of rubble from demolished buildings surrounding Bretton Hall, and ‘burnt’ ends of 16mm film; and is installed with the tree root itself.

In the Bothy Gallery, a printed script runs a commentary on its own production, collaging discarded material into part-screenplay, part-poem, part-footnote. It transcribes ‘outtakes’ from sound recordings made for the film, and draws on texts, from Domesday Book (1086) to T.S Eliot’s The Waste Land (1921). The script imagines other productions filmed on site, and writes its own, tentative existence into the narrative of another cinematic legacy; the 1969 adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love (1922), in which passages were shot around the lake, and a naked wrestling scene between Oliver Reed and Alan Bates was staged before a fireplace in Bretton Hall.

In the Camellia House, a 4 channel sound work made with Sound Designer Chu-Li Shewring, extends the film sound-track to suggest a summoning of language from the landscape, using part-improvised, part-scripted readings with Alan MacKenzie, the Sculpture and Estates Manager at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. These narratives are combined with field recordings made in the Park and underwater in the lake, and material from the YSP archive.


Image: Film stills and installation views, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2017 [photographs: Jules Lister] Its soil was a plot she do the tree in different voices (2017): Single channel film, 11 minutes, 16mm film transferred to digital, colour, stereo; installation, dimensions variable, freeze-dried Sycamore tree; script, eight pages, 330 x 246mm, lithographic print folded with perforated edge; 4 channel sound, 16 minutes. / CAMERA AND EDIT Frances Scott; ADDITIONAL CAMERA Phil Coy, Freya Stockford; SOUND RECORDING Adam Gutch; INSECT SOUND RECORDINGS Dr. Dave Chesmore, Department of Electronic Engineering, University of York; SOUND MIX AND DESIGN Chu-Li Shewring; SCRIPT Frances Scott with extracts from recordings in West Bretton, August - September 2017, and additional written material from Domesday Book (1086-7); Dante Alighieri, 'Inferno', Divine Comedy (1320); D.H Lawrence, Women in Love (1921); T.S Eliot, The Waste Land (1922); R. Welldon Finn, The Making and Limitations of the Yorkshire Domesday (1972); Jorges Luis Borges, 'The Disk', The Book of Sand (1975); and The Landscape Agency, 'Yorkshire Sculpture Park: Historic Landscape Management Plan' (1999); 35MM SLIDES AND ARCHIVE INTERVIEW courtesy Yorkshire Sculpture Park; VOICE Alan Mackenzie; TIMBER WOLF SCENES Terry Lee, Lord Papa Stu, Tim Moore, Will Grinder, Ashley Ridley; THANKS TO Phil Coy, Holly Willats and Art Licks, Louise Hutchinson, Freya Stockford, Terry Lee, Lord Papa Stu, Alan Mackenzie, Iain Stephenson, Matthew Cullen, Thom Butler and all at Yorkshire Sculpture Park; Ian Panter and the York Archaeological Trust, all at the Stuart Croft Foundation; John Brown; Chu-Li Shewring, Adam Gtuch; and Christine Scott. SCRIPT DESIGN An Endless Supply; PRINTED by Emmerson Press, Kenilworth; COMMISSIONED by Art Licks as part of 'On the heights', Yorkshire Sculpture Park 2017. 'On the heights' is a group exhibition with artists Miriam Austin, Sam Belinfante, Tom Lovelace and Frances Scott / Its soil was a plot she do the tree in different voices is funded by the Stuart Croft Foundation, Moving Image Award 2017, Arts Council England, and Ampersand Foundation, with additional support from York Archaeological Trust. A two week residency was supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation.