Artists-in-Residence Sonia Leber and David Chesworth’s blog – Week 1

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“Sonia Leber and David Chesworth are cultural investigators, landing lightly in foreign territory, weighed down only with a mixed bag of pre-entry research, a camera, some sound equipment and a couple of laptops. The work they are going to make is out there waiting; images and events to be re-interpreted, re-framed, recorded and edited.” – Fiona Gruber

“As Messums first artists in residence, we have arrived in Wiltshire via projects in the arid Australian outback, post-Soviet Russia, a factory that used to print the daily news, a Finnish fortress and the futuristic house of an Australian progressive society. The diversity of settings for our past projects has enabled us to create vastly different projects, mostly involving video, but always with a deep concern for sound and listening.

Here in Wiltshire, we have encountered an isolated hillside covered in an array of mounds that turned out to be anthills. Hidden colonies of yellow meadow ants create these temperate mounds to attract their food source from aphids, allowing the ants to remain inside, stealthily unseen and nurtured by the incoming aphids.

As we travel about, we have returned to this lumpy hillside twice, and it serves as a metaphor for our forthcoming project – a prompt for the unseen activity that lurks beneath the visible. Our project will emerge from the reality of Wiltshire, but it will be developed in the realms of the imaginary, sensation and concept.

We have also been out traversing the chalk pathways with local bike riders, encountering edgy flint and a whole range of flora including masses of spikey and stinging plants, as though the right to walk has first got to be negotiated through these challenges.“

Arts journalist, essayist, broadcaster and radio documentary maker Fiona Gruber will be interviewing the artists in residence on Friday 19th July at 6:30pm at Messums Wiltshire.

Leber and Chesworth’s works have been shown in the central exhibitions of the 56th Venice Biennale ‘All the World’s Futures’ (2015) and the 19th Biennale of Sydney ‘You Imagine What You Desire’ (2014); and a parallel exhibition of the 5th Moscow Biennale (2013).

A full project history can be found at

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