Bone Fire

Bone Fire (2010) consists of photographs of unlit bonfires and their teenage guardians taken over a five-year period around West Yorkshire, highlighting both tradition and community as well as linking us to the land and the elements around us.

 

The annual November 5th Bonfire – later to be rebranded by James I as Guy Fawkes' Night – was in earlier times known as the Bone Fire, a symbolic burning of the summer's animal carcasses to ward off, and warn of, the oncoming frost; part of the seasonal ritual marking of time, before clock-time, when the world's turn was measured by sun and moon, tides and shifts in the weather.

 

Bone Fires were celebrations, feasts, staking claim to our survival through another cycle and heralding our gathering-together in the face of colder weather. In this fire, people saw off summer and clenched a fist at winter; set a big blaze to measure the distance between harvest's gathering and Spring's seed-sowing

 

Casey Orr's Bone Fire photographs celebrate a modern-day echo of those times, a transient world these kids create for themselves, fun they create without leadership and instruction; the photographs elevating those self-built chaotic structures into sculptures, sculptures that live, burn and die in that one annual breathless week.

The work was exhibited at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2010) and Left Bank Leeds (2019). It is also a newspaper publication (Bad Dog Books) with an essay by Boff Whalley.

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