This cyanotype photogram demonstrates a short sequence of 5 steps* in a process of random rearrangement. All of the glass fragments are present in each column, but their position is otherwise undefined. Each column signifies the effects of a single tide with the glass fragments rearranged randomly. (print size: 370x290mm)

42 fragments

the idea
During the initial week spent on the AOR project I casually collected a small pile of "sea glass" - glass fragments which have been washed up and rounded to a greater or lesser extent by the action of the sea and sand. Over the course of the week I refined my selection, choosing to collect only clear glass and throwing the unwanted pieces down "for another day". I had no plans for my collection, but the fact that I could be sure that the sea would gather in, rearrange and deposit these fragments with each subsequent tide, led to the idea behind this piece. Some months later, after emptying pockets bags & various containers, I discovered that I had amassed sufficient glass to work with. The final choice of 42 fragments for this piece will be obvious to fans of Douglas Adams.

the process
To produce the photogram I laid the fragments out onto hand coated light-sensitive paper one column at a time. The remainder of the sheet was masked while each column was exposed to intense ultraviolet light for the required exposure. Once exposed, I gathered the fragments together in a container before tipping them as randomly as possible on the next column of 4 squares. My only direct interaction with their position was to ensure that the individual piles of fragments were contained within the marked squares. When complete, the exposed paper was washed & dried to preserve the image. Further information on the cyanotype printing process can be found on the "info" link from my homepage.

* I have had thoughts about producing a larger version signifying a month's tidal rearrangements between two full moons.

jar of glass fragments

all images © martin winfield 1990-2007