Dans Le Noir - Lynda Laird
On the 6th June 1944 allied forces launched the biggest amphibious military attack in history, landing along 50 miles of the heavily fortified Normandy coast and creating a significant dent in Hitler’s Atlantic wall. ‘Operation Overlord’ began the liberation of the German occupied coast of North West Europe; it was the beginning of the end of WW2.
"The images in this installation were taken in and around the coastal bunkers that formed part of the Atlantic wall along the Normandy coast from Utah beach to Deauville. In part, I used infrared film – created by the military in WW2 to detect camouflage and expose a visual spectrum that’s invisible to the naked eye. Silk and Japanese mulberry paper forms part of this installation, both were important technologies specific to WW2; escape maps were printed on to silks and stitched inside officers uniforms, mulberry paper was used for this purpose as well as for creating balloon bombs."
"The video was shot in the sea of the D-Day beaches at the exact time of the landings. The words spoken in this installation belong to Odette Brefort; she lived in Deauville during the German Occupation and throughout WW2. She was a member of the French Resistance, providing military intelligence on the German defenses by drawing intricate and beautiful maps to send to her comrades in Paris."
Being selected as an artist for this residency was a really exciting opportunity and one I am extremely grateful for. After leaving Uni (and before I did my MA) I found it really hard to stay focused on a project and follow it through to completion, from conceiving the initial idea to having a finished piece of work or exhibition. Working on a residency enables this; there are deadlines to meet and exhibitions to hang so there is no running away from it, still plenty of time for procrastination though!
There is also the added benefit of having a budget to work with, sadly I managed to spend a lot more than I was given but I produced a body of work I was happy with. Another part of this process that I really enjoyed was making work about a place I would never have chosen to go to myself. I get so distracted with finding so many different ideas and places fascinating, it can become hard to narrow an idea down and stick to it, being placed in an environment outside of my own choosing forced me to look deeper and research to find something that still excited me but I would never have chosen myself. I have done two residencies now and although the work is very different, the starting point for both the projects was the sea. Water has become my thing, not really intentionally but something I am drawn to and find a lot of comfort in. I do also find it incredibly helpful to have this point of focus when exploring ideas; it simplifies things for me to have this element to keep coming back to.
To see more from this project, visit Lynda Laird's website.