Iguana, Place in Time

Graham Keddie has worked in collaboration with Agnes Marton’s Poem, Iguana.

In consideration of the content and intensity of this poem, he has collaborated in the context of the presence of place and organic, fluctuating levels of narrative in time.

The work was an intervention choreographed over a period of 2 weeks in June 2014.

This took place in the ‘Summer House’ at Artspace in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England. The time spent on the residency was specifically used to explore a philosophical heuristic meeting place with the poem.  

This 350 page book documents the intervention but also places the work into a new context: an anthropological, spatial experience in place and time.

EXHIBITION IN LUXEMBOURG Venue: Court of Justice of the European Union, Luxembourg. November 2014.

The full 350 page book is available from:


Iguana © 2014 All rights reserved by the author Agnes Marton.

The following is a record of an oral Introduction to ‘Iguana, Place in time’ given at the opening;

“I am primarily a ‘fine art enquirer’ and currently explore the mediums of sculpture, installation, film, text, print and photography. One of my concerns is my interest in the philosophy of ordinary language and this has come about from my interest in Wittgenstein’s theory that language is the limit or governor of how we can understand the world the environment and everything in it. This has engaged me in several pieces of work in different methods of production through my personal dialogue with this principle. I have a particular interest in the use of multiple ideas, definitions, and narratives in a simultaneous superposition. This interest is in a practical sense in terms of material investigation and philosophic position is explorative in nature. Therefore the works I produce do not necessarily offer literal questions and answers but instead offer clues and experience to find areas of personal resonance.

Agnes Marton’s poems don’t include rhymes or decorative use of language. Instead they asked questions of me. In this case collaborating with Agnes Marton for the exhibition Guardian of the Edge. I chose to work with Agnes’s poem titled, Iguana. This piece of work seemed to me to have a highly visual presence and required me to engage in the world in which it exists. In this case I considered whether or not I was the iguana, the custodian or, the place or space in which it resided. One of the aspects of the work which interested me was the introspective dialogue. I started by examining both the construction of the poem and the word definitions. As I did this the dialogue in the work despite the empirical analysis of the words and structure, became experiential. Therefore, this introverted one-sided dialogue suspended in place and time became a central focus for me in the collaboration.

I decided to research self-experience of dialogues which had also been one-sided, suspended in place in time, unrequited, ignored and undervalued in terms of reciprocal discourse or engagement. This research produced a kind of parallel use of text, highly emotional but, in itself non-pictorial. One of the aspects of this interest me, was that this produced another level of narrative which in itself could be seen separately but also could be seen as an extension or juxtaposition to the original poem iguana.

I thought it was important to develop other narratives and these would be visual in the context of these would be to develop another dialogue, narrative which was both separate and yet capable of interaction with both areas of the works which had manifest themselves in an abstract space, at that point in time.

This was carried out during the two-week artist residency at ARTSPACE. Here I was able to utilise the’ summerhouse’ as a place in time. The nature of this work, the dimensions of the space, atmosphere, lighting and sense of the passage of time became very important element in the experimental nature of this collaboration. I developed notions relating to the text, use of words materials construction methods which manifest themselves in a changing and developmental installation over the two-week period of time which might be better timed as a series of layered narrative based interventions. The installations became along with the construction of objects and development of text and visual based dialogues recorded through photography. The use of the photography extended the work, through the exploration of the summerhouse’s environment. The use of atmosphere, light and colour through the framing and compositional process developed a series of images which could be edited into a book format.

I felt that this format was particularly interesting because it enabled the use of a traditional method of presenting narrative which could with careful editing enable the balance of simultaneous multi-layered narratives being organised and presented in a non-traditional use of this product. At all times I wanted to connect back to the emotional experiential experience contained as a presence reflective of the original poem iguana and return the work to a book format.”

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