Stephen Hurrel works with video, sound, sculpture and words to explore relationships between people and places. His artworks combine art, science and technology to explore and record the interactions and tensions between nature and contemporary society. They draw our attention to current ecological issues such as the impact of industry on the natural environment. As well as making art for the gallery, Hurrel produces commissioned artworks responding to specific places such as rural landscapes and marine environments.
Zones [ZONES] – An Audiology of the River Clyde (1999) consisted of a series of boat trips with audio accompaniment via headphones. Passengers were taken on a 40-minute journey along the River Clyde with a soundtrack, part real and part constructed, composed of archive material and on-site recordings. The work highlighted the river’s significant history as a place of industry and community and imagined its future as a base for commerce and telecommunication industries.
Beneath and Beyond: Seismic Sounds (2008) is an immersive audio-visual gallery installation that transmits live sounds from within the earth. It was created using computer software developed for the Internet. It presents a unique relationship between awe-inspiring natural phenomena and cutting-edge technology. The work is partly informed by historical artworks including twentieth-century Land Art and the artist’s fascination with European landscape painting of the nineteenth century.
The use of digital technology to access aspects of the natural environment that are rarely seen or heard is also a key element of Dead Reckoning (2012). Produced during a residency at a marine mammal research station in Cromarty, north of Inverness, this film, with accompanying soundtrack, traces a journey through a seascape using video footage and underwater recording equipment. It offers an emotive, cinematic journey through an environment where nature coexists with oil rigs, cruise ships and wind turbines. In the last few years Hurrel has undertaken other research expeditions at sea to locations as diverse as the Outer Hebrides, Gran Canaria and the Azores.