Waxing Moon, Setting Sun

Cyanotype on 300gsm Saunders Waterford
27.5 x 36cm
2017

This cyanotype series was produced whilst on location as Jon Schueler Visual Artist In Residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Skye.

The images were created using a combination of old Plaster of Paris (found in a store cupboard, which coincidentally had the last day of the residency as the use by date) and collected used plastic cups. These plastic cups were used throughout the college and could not be recycled. I calculated approximately 16,800 would have been used during my 3 month stay.

With a new village development being built around the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig campus, a key idea during the residency was what impact our present material culture would have on this imagined future place.

I considered the plastic cups as the potential remains of our society and whoever/whatever inhabits the place in a distant future may well be studying fragments of these plastic cups, as we do with the remnants of ancient civilisations and as is done, to some extent, with Gaelic culture at the college.

The title refers to Sorley Maclean’s description of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig as a waxing moon in the revival of Gaelic, in contrast with the weak winter sun used to make the work in the dusk of the residency/year and our potentially bleak future if we ignore ecological concerns around our use of plastic. Across the 7 images in the series, an apparent celestial body rises and falls above an ambiguous horizon as fragments of cast plastic cup increase below.

The college now use compostable cups.