Lament interweaves site-specific found objects, animation, poetry and music to explore a personal narrative of loss, longing and belonging in the Welsh borderlands. 

“My earliest memories involve looking west across the border toward the Welsh hills and constructing an imaginary geography. Now I am able to look eastwards and examine this childhood landscape from a new perspective and in doing so re-evaluate my place within it.”

Animation and macro photography is used to examine found objects (eg lichen, flora, animal remains etc) while cinematic compositing techniques visually reintroduce these objects back into the wider landscape and thereby re- contextualise them.

The film is a result of 12 months intensive exploration and deep mapping of the border area: Artist Sean Vicary and musician Ceri-Rhys Matthews have collaborated to combine spoken word and elements of traditional music to achieve a dynamic synergy between sound and image. The oral source material is taken from sections of the 7th Century Welsh poem cycle, Canu Heledd. These poems deal with the fall of the Brythonic Kingdom of Pengwern, in what is now Shropshire, and these particular verses describe the silence and desolation of Prince Cynddylan’s home after his death.

“I’m interested in how place and language combine to inform our perception of self and how this affects our wider relationships. ‘Lament’ draws on my own subjective experience of landscape, specifically the Wales/Shropshire border where I grew up.

It was the death of my Father that prompted a return to my childhood home and a re-evaluation of those surroundings…

‘Lament’ is an attempt to represent and navigate this liminal landscape, half remembered upon waking, where dreams, memories and the physical collide.”

Through a composite of oral, visual and technological innovation, Vicary has created a platform for topographical experimentation and improvisation that combines with sensitive autobiographical references.

Sections of ‘Lament’ are also available to view on a mobile platform using ‘augmented reality’ software, which through its integration of GPS positioning and user controlled field of view allows access to selective audio-visual
material in the landscape.

This site-specific process of ‘re-compositing’ the objects back into the landscape allows the viewer to physically interact with the artwork whilst simultaneously raising questions about process and perception.

Further details of the AR intervention can be found here

‘Lament’ was supported by Animate Projects, Arts Council of Wales and Small World Theatre


Animate Projects Background material, film, interview and an essay by artist/ curator Michael Cousin looking at Lament’s exploration of liminal space
Audio Interview with Flack Magazine at Kettle’s Yard
BBC Wales Article by Polly March
Ceri Rhys Matthews musician and producer
Kettles Yard with Aid & Abet Temporary Residence at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge 12 Jan – 24th Feb 2013
Lament Augmented Reality Site specific AR installation on Powys/ Shropshire border
Oriel Davies Lament was in exhibition at Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown from 11th February to 18th April 2012
Oriel Davies Review Interface review of Oriel Davies exhibition
Paul Kingsnorth at (Un)natural Narratives audio recording of discussion at Standpoint Gallery with author & Dark Mountain Project co-founder Paul Kingsnorth
Standpoint Gallery (Un)natural Narratives exhibition
tinderfarm Lament augmented reality case study on the tinderfarm website
Vimeo Sean Vicary on Vimeo