Joshua Bilton (b. Hertfordshire, UK) based in London. I studied at the London College of Communication, completing my BA in Photography in 2007 and graduated with an MA in Photography in 2010 from the Royal College of Art.
My multidisciplinary approach to making shifts between performance and the document, often looking at the role an environment plays in orientating the body in a sense of place, home and belonging. My previous work Undersong commissioned by Space looks at the quarries of Portland Stone and the materials connection to death, permanence, the double and sovereign identity. These themes are explored through an immersive three-screen video installation and a self-guided sound and poetry walk through sites of Portland stone in London. Most recently I have completed the work Incomer that looks at the Herdwick sheep and how they speak of a long history of migration that is carried into local dialect terms, such as ‘Hefted’, a word that is adopted by many locals to describe a deep sense of belonging and rootedness. Those who are not ‘Heafed like sheep to the fell’ are Incomers, used to describe a person that lives in a place but was not born there. Through workshops in Coniston Hall, clay casting, photography and sound the work reflects something of the transition from migrant to settler, from incomer to hefted, asking what belongs and does not belong to a place. I am currently working on a new piece titled The Observers. Taking reference from a series of 7” vinyl’s recorded in 1945 of wild birdsong. The recordings have a huge amount of static and through this can be heard the various songs of birds. The recordings give the impression that the songs are in a state between definition and disappearance and speak simultaneously of the desire to protect/catalogue and the uncertainty of decay, extinction and collapse. The recordings are envisaged as part an installation and as a live performance with the music duo BirdWorld.
Alongside this I have an ongoing engagement with social arts practice through facilitating community workshops, collaborations and installations with a number of arts organisations including Kettle’s Yard, ACAVA, Flourishing Lives, Tate Exchange and the Canal & River Trust.
I am currently lead tutor in photography at the Royal Drawing School and a visiting tutor at the London College of Communication. My work has been shown in the UK, as well as Europe and USA. Recent exhibitions and projects include, Tate Exchange May 26th-28th 2019 with Flourishing Lives, London; Tate Exchange June 1st with Kettle’s Yard, London; Masquerade, Open House Cambridge with Kettle’s Yard for an exhibition and radio broadcast 2019; The Canal & River Trust, resident artist, Hinterlands 2018; Material Immaterial, experimental Risograph publication curated by Rodrigo Orrantia 2018; Doremi residency, Cumbria 2017; Space studios, London 2016.