Rob Gawthrop




My work generally concerns and confounds the immediacy and simultaneity of what is seen and heard and includes the use of film, sound, home-made devices, projections and improvisation.  Recent work includes Tailings (2019), Newlyn Film Festival, Alchemy Film Festival and Braziers Independent film festival; Frequency (2019), Algomech Sheffield;  Descent/Ascent for 100ft Deep Time  and  Rooted Out (2017) for ReRooted / Hull17 - both with Jo Millett. I have performed and exhibited widely since 1980, earlier films distributed by Lux.  Founder member of 'School of Noises'  and ‘Independent School of Art’ (Penryn 2011-14); Hull Art Lab Hull (2004-6) and Hull Time Based Arts (1984-2004). Writings include  Politics Practice Pedagogy Art (2016) in Performance Research (Routledge) and  Thunder and Lightning (2012) in Reverberations (Continuum).  Course leader & Head of Art at Hull (1996-2004), Dartington (2007-10) and Falmouth Schools of Art (2010-15).




HD from16mm, colour, stereo sound. 6’ 41”

Filmed and recorded at the Wheal Maid tailings lagoon, Gwennap, Cornwall, (tailings are the material left after the removal of the valuable fraction of an ore). April 2018, completed December 2018.


The Wheal Maid tailings lagoon contains contaminated waste including arsenic, cadmium and other heavy metals. This contamination, particularly from oxides and algae has produced unusual colours in the water and lagoon banks. Through the use of variable exposures and superimpositions, colours are accentuated and these formal and abstract qualities are at times broken through ripples, reflections and other recognisable features. Recordings, on-site of a rattle and bowed bell-cymbals, provide a spatial and contrasting presence to the flat visuals. The film concludes with a short text providing a factual context.