Susan Haire

Coming up for Air

600 black drinking straws

Height : 20cm   Width : 100cm   Depth : 500cm  

The snorkel is thought to have originated 5000 years ago for Cretan sponge-diving. It was mentioned by Aristotle and developed by Leonardo. I have snorkelled a lot and fondly remember my young children following me like three little ducklings. I haven't forgotten reading Dr No at 12 years old. In the film Bond hides underwater in a chase using bamboo stalks to breathe through - a mistake in the film is that it's visible that he hasn't cleared the closed off sections of the stalks so actually they wouldn't have been usable as breathing tubes. Snorkelling is at its best when simply hanging motionless and the water magically comes to life in detail. Installing my piece reminded me of this when I suddenly started to see all the activity of the miniature world, the earthworms and ants and beetles, around me. Ephemeral sculpture, by definition, is often affected by the weather and I would normally do maintenance but in this piece any straws that come adrift can represent the numerous set-backs we have had in beating Covid.