Storey Gallery commissioned Layla Curtis to develop a project which explored an aspect of Lancaster and the surrounding area. Layla became interested in the boundary created by Lancaster Castle walls, a defensive structure that exists simultaneously to protect and restrain.
Layla Curtis is a British artist with a significant international profile. Extensive travel has informed much of her work, which explores the notion of borders and boundaries, both physical and metaphorical. The artist’s early cartographic work, developed during a residency at the Akiyoshidai International Arts Village in Japan, has become iconic. Layla’s ongoing investigation into our sense of place utilises a combination of new technologies and extreme sports.
Polar Wandering, a psychogeographical exploration of the artist’s movements from London to Antarctica, and Message a in Bottle: From Ramsgate to the Chatham Islands both use GPS technology as a tool to create drawings. In the case of Polar Wandering the GPS tracks the artist’s own movements across the globe resulting in a 27,856 mile long drawing - while the journey of an inanimate object, guided by the wind and the tides, creates the drawings in Message in a Bottle.
Traceurs: to trace, to draw, to go fast, investigates a similar notion of border crossing and journeys through a smaller geographical area. Using a heat sensitive camera Layla filmed the movements of Parkour practitioners (traceurs) as they disregard established boundaries creating their own alternative routes through the city.
For Walking with the Penan, Layla spent 4 weeks in 2010 trekking in the rainforests of Borneo with the semi-nomadic Penan people – one of the last surviving hunter-gatherer tribes in South-East Asia.