Fly Montage. 2011-2012



Fly Montage Positive (time-based) (youtube) (vimeo)

Fly Montage Negative (time-based) (youtube) (vimeo) (like white chalk on a blackboard)

Fly in the sink  at The Oriel Davies Gallery (youtube) (vimeo) 

Fly in the sink  at The Oriel Davis Gallery on BBC Wales website (image 6)


Originally a sheet of eighty nine graphite fly studies, each individual drawing is captured and superimposed one over another in a montage of images. Occasional minute pauses aim to add a sense of anticipation. Each drawing is rotated as though viewing from different angles to create hundreds of frames in repeating sequence. The sound of drawing one of the flies determines the length of the work.


Fly Montage Positive  was projected initially onto the open page of a blank sketch book, and subsequently into a bathroom basin. Initial projection of the Fly Montage Positive  onto the open pages of a small sketch book refers to the activity of drawing the fly studies.

A subsequent installation projects the fly montage from behind a bathroom mirror cabinet into a sink. It refers not only to the experience of surprise on finding a fly buzzing in the basin, but also to the way the human brain attempts to make sense of what is seen and heard. Installed in the bathroom of an imaginary Welsh guest house Fly Montage Positive  was part of Be Our Guest  at The Oriel Davies Gallery, Wales 2013.

Surface is also explored at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham as part of New Art West Midlands 2014  where both Fly Montage Positive  and Fly Montage Negative were projected onto a wall.


Contemporary cognitive neuroscience suggests the human brain appears to produce detail by continually moving the eye around to sample the world. This time-based montage of drawings was developed in terms of fragmented vision using multiple still images laid one on another to interrupt a sense of smooth motion. Rapid saccades (tiny movements) of the eye are paralleled by the erratic movement of this montage. The eye makes four to five saccades per second which the brain stores and remembers. From these samples the brain reinterprets the patterns around us to generate continual visual information. Between each saccade, that is, each time the eye moves position, the brain cuts out vision so that what we are seeing is in actuality, a series of still images. So there is a moment of blindness every time our eyes move, yet we perceive a smooth shift in movement. The brain is creating solutions as it attempts to add together the still images and incomplete visual information.


Hood, B. (2011) Bruce Hood – What’s in your head?