The Liveliest of Elements, an Ordinary Extraordinary Material: An exhibition of new work inspired by North Pennines uplands by Laura Harrington at Woodhorn Museum

The Liveliest of Elements, an Ordinary Extraordinary Material

10 – 17 October Norman Chapel, Durham Castle

17 October – 8 November, Woodhorn Museum, Northumberland


The Liveliest of Elements, an Ordinary Extraordinary Material, is a new body of work by the the artist Laura Harrington which was formed from an elongated period of research into upland peat landscapes. Specifically Moss Flats, a bare peat flatland, approximately 50 miles west of Newcastle upon Tyne in the North Pennines, a landscape that has given Harrington an insight into the substance of peat as a dynamic and changeable material. Working with specialists from both artistic and scientific fields such as Lee Patterson, Cath Tyler, Chris Watson, Josephine Dickinson and Jeff Warburton she has mapped this environment through art works, both portrait and facet, expansive and intimate, cultural and clinical.

Commissioned by arts science organisation Invisible Dust and developed during a prestigious Leverhulme Trust Artist Residency with geomorphologist Jeff Warburton from the Department of Geography, Durham University; the exhibition will be presented at two unique and contrasting sites during October 2015: Durham Castle’s historic Norman Chapel 10th Р17th as part of Durham Book Festival and the subterranean disused ventilation shaft Walker Fan Drift in Woodhorn Museum 17th October Р8th November (visitors wishing to see the exhibition are asked to visit the website for an updated viewing schedule Р

The Liveliest of Elements, an Ordinary Extraordinary Material is less of an art exhibition and more of an art experience, comprising three distinct parts: Liveliest of Elements, a new film with four channel specialised sound intricately exploring Moss Flats. The film goes beyond the view of such a place as a seemingly mundane and passive landscape and reveals this supposed nothingness in its entirety. dis/sonance in which Harrington has worked with five singers at Moss Flats to represent the surface movement of the place in a new, immersive sound installation and Haggs and High Places, an artist publication that though words and drawings provides a brief insight into the research leading up to the exhibition and also includes new writing by poet and shepherd Josephine Dickinson.

A specially commissioned text by Mike Crang, Head of Department in the Department of Geography at Durham University accompanies the exhibition.

In Conversation/talk on Saturday 31 October, 2pm
As part of Liveliest of Elements an Ordinary Extraordinary Material at Woodhorn Museum, an in conversation event will take place between artist Laura Harrington, Alice Sharp (Director and Curator, Invisible Dust), Jeff Warburton (Durham University) and Rob Young (English Heritage).

Please book a place by calling Woodhorn on 01670 624455.

REE Bus from Newcastle Central Station at 11:45 returning from Woodhorn at 3.30pm. To book a place on the bus and talk please go to

Supported by Arts Council England, The Leverhulme Trust, Durham University, The North Pennines AONB Partnership and developed in collaboration with Invisible Dust.