Searcher / Jen Southern (2015)
This new work brought together two contrasting viewpoints and histories of search and rescue missions.
Drawing inspiration and research from the ‘Gibson Girl’ kite and the now widely employed Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team dogs, Searcher looked at the technologies of search and rescue from the sophisticated scent tracking of the dogs to the kites, which were historically used in life-rafts to fly an aerial up into the sky and send an S.O.S. radio signal.
Southern has worked to capture GoPro footage and GPS data from one of the dogs during training and tried to understand more clearly the behaviour of the dogs when they search. The data and images from this research have been printed onto kites for visitors to fly across the Grizedale site. So, as you flew the kite in the forest, with your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds, the kite tugged at your hands like a dog straining at the leash, and in homage to the Gibson Girl, visually broadcasted your place on the ground.