in conversation with Danni Turbin

Can you describe where you are while writing this and what you can see from your window?

My favourite time of day this past month has been spent looking out this window. The swifts nest in the chimneys, and every morning between five and six they take over the sky for one brief moment and fly from the east side of Huntly to the west. But, now its early evening all I see are sandy terracotta chimney pots on grey bricks, and if you look right into the distance a gigantic hedge marks the top of the Clashmach.

What was the motivation for using writing as your chosen medium for the Landlinks project?

As a visual artist I have recently turned to words, at the moment it feels as though there are so many possibilities for the visual medium and writing feels as though its the most relevant medium for capturing the journey (for the moment at least).

What and who is the 'driving' force or major influence for your work?

Two artists I greatly admire are Joseph Beuys and William Kentridge

You work in a variety of different mediums including drawing, photography and writing. How important is research and experimentation to your work and can you outline some of your working processes for us?

I'd say that my work is an ongoing body of research and experimentation. When I set out on a journey or create a drawing; its important that I try to not to pre empt where the journey will take me. If I did know the outcome then I feel it would take away the energy of the work.

One of a series of images from a piece of work currently being developed called 'Stay Home (2020)', a long distance walk around the City of Wolverhampton.

Can you talk a bit about walking and the importance of walking in/to your work?

Very, the walk is the work. However there's still a part of me that needs to be in the studio and using pencil and paper as a means of recording these walks. So, I see-saw between walking and the studio.

What do you think about when walking?

Because I walk for such long bouts of time, it could range from the news that day through to literature. Often I will read something that is relevant to a particular time or place and might take that authorial voice with me.

You are part of the Landlinks project and the synchronised walk that took place April. We would love to hear your feedback on this networking initiative and your resulting creative response to that walk

It was great to walk in with others during that very strange time, I remember back then I was so acutely aware of my presence outside my home, it kind of felt uncomfortable. The instructions that were given provided such an interesting topic for discussion and by walking with others and responding to these shared key words it provided a bit of momentum to continue walking.

You’ve been recently working at Deveron Projects.  Can you say something about your role there 

Over the past month I've been up at Deveron Projects as their ‘Thinker in Residence’. I've been continuing to walk the United Kingdom with a focus on the area of Huntly in Aberdeenshire and mapping the local area through walking.

Landscape and the environment are both important areas of creative exploration to you. With current concerns about our environment, how do you see your role as one heavily involved in the arts?

It would be nice to encourage others to go out walking and raise awareness of its importance, not only our physical and mental well being but just by being outside we can come to learn so much more about the world that we live in. Perhaps by doing so we will grow to appreciate and respect our landscape and environment.

Can you describe your favourite place and why?

It changes, depending on a lot of factors! I do particularly enjoy dark and mysterious places though, like woodlands and forests but equally I love exploring tunnels. A recent favourite of mine is the Netherton Tunnel in Dudley.

The Covid 19 is having a massive impact on so many lives. Are you able to say what effect it is having on your working/creative life and what you have planned once Covid 19 retreats?

The lock down provided me (like so many others) with the opportunity to stay at home and explore the local area, before I might have travelled further afield to walk it gave me the chance to really get to know my home. I tend to take each day as it comes to be honest though, its hard to say what I will be doing in the future.

Your work often references a ‘place’ and that obviously influences your creative response. Is there a place that means more to you and why?

Places that have the most significance to me, are places that I have spent a longer period of time living in, and, had that time to create a memory.

What are you currently reading and whois your favourite writer?

My favourite writer (at the moment) is probably Haruki Murakami, he’s not only a brilliantly surrealist writer but athlete too!
I'm currently about to start Summer by Ali Smith.

Do you consider your work political?

I think that all work is political, whether we directly acknowledge it or not.

Please pose your own question (you can even answer it if you want to or just leave it open for others to respond)

How do you start a walk?