Soil Culture Residencies

Sarah Ciurysek

Daylesford Organic Farm, Near Kingham, Gloucestershire

‘Grounded, Leaping’

Sarah Ciurysek is a Canadian artist working mainly in photography, video, audio and installation to examine our relationships with the ground.  She lives in Winnipeg and is an Assistant Professor at the School of Art at the University of Manitoba.

Sarah was selected for the residency at Daylesford Organic Farm, a working organic farm located in over 2000 acres in the Cotswolds. The residency brief invited an artist to engage with the notion of ‘terroir’, a sense of place based on the soil, and to respond to the diversity of the soils at the farm.

Sarah spent the beginning of the residency familiarizing herself with Daylesford and its surrounds by touring the farm, meeting staff and locals, and walking the farm trails and nearby footpaths.  Working out of a base in the Chelsea Flower Show award-winning kitchen garden and pavilion space in the Market Garden at Daylesford, Sarah then interviewed Daylesford staff as well as local community members about their experiences of, and relationships to, soil.  This included the Head of the Market Garden, a beekeeper, a groundsman, the Head Cheesemaker, a woodworker, a nutritionist, an environmental scientist and farm shop staff. Taking selected segments from the interviews, she edited the audio tracks and constructed an overall audio story that loosely follows the human life cycle, and which provides an audio portrait of Daylesford.  She then mapped a trail through the farm’s Market Garden that corresponded with the content of the stories told.  The result was a site-specific audio walk at Daylesford that was initially presented during their summer festival on 16 May 2015, for which there were around 6000 visitors. Sarah’s aim was to encourage the listeners to piece together what they were hearing with what they were seeing, feeling, and smelling, and also with what they needed to imagine.

The work presented here in this exhibition, ‘Grounded, Leaping’, is an edited version of the audio piece and accompanying photographs. The 8 audio tracks are recordings of people of varying ages, from aged 4 to their late 60s, speaking about their relationship with soil. They are accompanied by images of sites along the original audio walk at Daylesford.

Special thanks go to the interviewees:

Steve Brown, Chelsea Callahan, Rhys Davis, Tim Field, Toby Harris, Ingrid Harris, Tanya Hawkes, George Hyatt, Rhaya Jordan, Annabel Kirkland, John Longman, Richard Smith, Jez Taylor.

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