Indirect Signs of Presence

Indirect Signs of Presence is a programme of newly commissioned artwork and events, which aims to connect audiences with the convergence of artistic practice and scientific research.

A pilot project of two new commissions will take place in Wytham Woods celebrating the Woods as a consistent site of study. Audiences will be invited to engage in a dialogue with artists and scientists and playfully explore creative interpretations of data while celebrating a site dedicated to measuring biodiversity and change.


The artist and others in Wytham Woods

Beneath the Surface (Hermeet Gill)

Following a period of research inspired by the 10,000-year pollen history preserved in Marley Fen, Beneath the Surface has been created in collaboration with Oxfordshire Basket makers, Greet Blom, Andy Goodwin and Charlotte Holmes. Hermeet uses locally sourced willow and hazel from Wytham Woods to create an aerial display of pollen archetypes, elevating an underground archive to reveal stories of resilience, community and connection.  

"As a place, Wytham has a particular atmosphere, that is magical and quite sacred," says Hermeet. "There are places that have a particular atmosphere: places of learning, like libraries, or natural spaces, like woods. Wytham has both. A wood that exists and is cared for to support learning and research is really quite special. It’s a combination of two things – this real wonder evoked by nature, and the human endeavour to search for that knowledge."

Understanding how it is managed was surprising. Understanding not just what is there, but also what has to happen to care for that space to keep it healthy and enhance the biodiversity.



Dead Wood Matters (Joe Wilson)

Deadwood beetle models

Valuing the vital importance of dead wood to the interconnected species at Wytham Woods and inspired by the field notes of Ecologist Charles Elton, Joe Wilson uses a plant based plastic with 3D printing technologies to present a new creative study of a beetle once seen at Wytham and now extinct in Britain.  


He says, "the opportunity to experiment fuelled my excitement and curiosity for the project. I really wanted to try something new, to push the work beyond the realms of a traditional material."


Artist Biographies:

Hermeet Gill (b.1977, lives in Oxford) is interested in ideas, systems and data. Originally trained in engineering, Hermeet has previously advised organisations on innovation and strategy, often communicating complex ideas using unconventional media such as animation, film and games. Working on the boundary of different disciplines, with a multi-varied practice, Hermeet experiments with design, letterpress printing, writing and photography.

Joe Wilson (b. 1989) is an Oxfordshire based multi-disciplinary artist working in sculpture, performance, mark making and installation. Joe combines existing source material and documentary photography to construct socially conscious narratives.


Future projects:

We have two further artists involved with Indirect Signs of Presence, however owing to the impact of the pandemic, their commissions from the project have been postponed to accommodate lockdown restrictions affecting travel. We look forward to working with Ed Carter and Eiko Soga in due course.

For further information about the project, check out the blog entries listed below!




Indirect Signs of Presence has received funding from the British Ecological Society.

British Ecological Society logo