Katrina Palmer

End Matter

The Isle of Portland, Dorset
25 April 2015 - 30 August 2015

Audio Walk: The Loss Adjusters (Part 1)

10 minutes 1 second
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The Isle of Portland off the south coast of England has been shaped and hollowed out over centuries by convicts and quarrymen to provide stone for some of London's best-known buildings. A sculptural excavation of this elemental island, marked by unsettling absences, and a writer who has gone missing, generated a series of narratives for listeners, readers and walkers.

Central to End Matter was an audio walk made for Portland. It began in an empty office in Easton on the island. Visitors headed out past a cemetery and towards a quarry, where they heard narratives about the primal forces of the island's geology; a young offender turned gravedigger; and the Horrocks sisters: daughters of a quarryman who live in two huts on the edge of the island. 

The narrative is accompanied by field recordings from Portland – the swell of the tide, the banging and cutting of quarry work – and, as they walked, listeners might have experienced some of what they heard seeping out into reality.

Parental guidance: some material is of a sexually explicit nature.

Audio Walk: The Loss Adjusters (Part 1)

The first track concerns the spectral figures of the Loss Adjusters themselves, and a mysterious writer who lives in the flat above their offices. Although it can be listened to anywhere in the world, this track was intended for experiencing inside 52 Easton Street on Portland. 

All three tracks are available to stream or download directly from Soundcloud (34 minutes 28 seconds). Following a fifteen-minute introduction, a special radio adaptation of this work, with the title The Quarryman's Daughters, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 23:00 on Tuesday 5 May 2015. An excerpt (20 minutes 38 seconds) is still available to hear.

Image: Inside 52 Easton Street, the Isle of Portland, April 2015. Photograph: Brendan Buesnel

Audio Walk: The Loss Adjusters (Part 2)

11 minutes 1 second
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Audio Walk: The Loss Adjusters (Part 2)

It's a big gutted male corpse that tips out of the tray and tumbles out heavily into the hole. The young man shudders. Working fast he shovels stoney rubble over the remains and then pulls the steel lid over the top of the grave. It's done, he says. Tomorrow there'll be a coffin on top of the rubble and the hole will be filled to the ground. There's a large mound of earth next to him: The displaced overburden that will no longer fit back into the cavity.

The second track follows the story of Ash, a convict turned gravedigger. Although it can be listened to anywhere in the world, this track was intended for experiencing at Bowers Quarry in Easton, Portland.

Also available to stream or download via Soundcloud.

Image: Bowers Quarry, Portland April 2015. Photograph Brendan Buesnel

Audio Walk: The Loss Adjusters (Part 3)

13 minutes 26 seconds
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Audio Walk: The Loss Adjusters (Part 3)

They said they were interested in sensually engaged absences and that they were trying to uncover any evidence of explicit bodily encounters on the island. Their suggestion was that these experiences are some kind of compensation for the displacement of the island's physicality.

The third track is a reading by a narrator interwoven with the voices of characters known as the Horrocks sisters, the eccentric daughters of a deceased quarryman, who occupy huts on the edge of the island. Although it can be listened to anywhere in the world, this track intended for experiencing when leaving St. George's Cemetery and walking up Wide Street in Easton, Portland.

Also available to stream or download via Soundcloud.

Quarried Portland stone at Bowers Quarry, the Isle of Portland, April 2015. Photograph: Brendan Buesnel

Video: Katrina Palmer on Portland

4 minutes 56 seconds
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Interview with Katrina Palmer

How does it feel to live on a space like that, where the ground's been taken away beneath you? What sort of experiences can be sustained on that sort of landscape?

Katrina Palmer is interviewed by film director Sam Blair about how she came to be interested in Portland and the way it has been shaped by quarrying to become something like a sculpted form.

Also available to view on Vimeo and YouTube.

Director: Sam Blair
Camera: Edward Edwards

Book: End Matter

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End Matter

£10 from Book Works

Irregular ground under your feet, young man. You veer from side to side, unsteady. Step lightly. Keep moving...Come back with food.

A book of stories, investigations and photographs, this publication accounts for the loss of Portland's stone, through the mysterious work of The Loss Adjusters who are responsible for accounting and balancing the material and historical shifts of the island’s being. Reporting these losses, their work is disrupted by the presence of a writer and her unreliable narratives set in the tunnels, paths and hollowed out quarries of the island.

  • Co-published by Artangel and Book Works, as part of Book Works Co-series, no. 9
  • Edition of 1,500
  • 96pp
  • Soft, with debossing
  • Design: James Langdon
  • 120 x 180mm
  • ISBN: 9781906012731

End Matter (special edition)

£185 from Book Works

The special edition has black end papers and a hard cover bound in warm grey Fine Buckram, with bright orange foil blocking outlining the island of Portland, and house in an ebony black slip case. The edition also contains two black and white C-type matt photographs wrapped in a glassine cover. 

  • Co-published by Book Works and Artangel
  • Edition of 50 inc. 5 artist's proofs, signed and numbered by the artist.
  • 96pp
  • Hardcover with debossing
  • Presented in a slip case
  • Design: James Langdon and Book Works Studio
  • 124 x 184mm, photographs each, 164 x 115mm
  • ISBN: 9781906012731 (SP)

About Katrina Palmer

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Katrina Palmer

Katrina Palmer was selected as part of the 2013 Open call for proposals from Artangel and BBC Radio 4.

Palmer lives in London, where she studied sculpture at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art. Through published stories, live readings and installed recordings, she proposes extended forms of writing as sculpture. The Dark Object, published by Book Works in 2010, narrates a series of power relations in a fictional art school. Palmer's work was included in 'Mirror City' at the Hayward Gallery, London in 2014. In May 2015 her work will be included in the group show The Weight of Data at Tate Britain. In autumn 2015 she will have a one-person show at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds. Her short story Relief (A Remote Object of Thought) is in the catalogue for 'Modern British Sculpture', Royal Academy of Art, London (2011) and The Fabricator's Tale was published by Book Works in 2014.


Both images: Katrina Palmer in front of Portland stone, March 2015. Photograph: Dominic Turner


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Palmer regards this Loss Adjusters project as working with found object. She wants to point up the holes in Portland, the gradual absence of the stone, a beautiful, natural, sculptural material. – Miranda Sawyer, The Observer

Selected Press

Palmer regards this Loss Adjusters project as working with found object. She wants to point up the holes in Portland, the gradual absence of the stone, a beautiful, natural, sculptural material. – Miranda Sawyer, The Observer, 26 April 2015.
The idea of fiction as a hallucination arising out of emptiness is intrinsic to the landscape. – Karen Whiteson, 3:am Magazine, October 2015
It is imperative to read, listen and walk the narratives proposed by End Matter in order to understand the way it performs its absences sculpturally, something it does deftly through describing the peripheries of an absent whole. – Jamie Sutcliffe, Art Monthly, issue 387, June 2015.
There is the death of Hazeline Horrocks, crushed by a boulder so completely her body cannot be separated from the rock. There is Palmer fastidiously underwriting her own erasure within the Loss Adjusters’ investigations of the absent writer. And, always underfoot, the perforated island that has surrendered itself to so many of the UK’s major public buildings, memorials, window sills, headstones. – Holly Corfield-Carr, winning entry, frieze writer’s prize 2015

Production Credits

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Production Credits

For audio work The Loss Adjusters and radio production The Quarryman's Daughters.

Voices: Shaun Milton, Katrina Palmer, David Williams
Writer voice: Katrina Palmer
Hazeline Horrocks voice: Lucy Watkins
Celestine Horrocks voice: Linda Martin
Additional voices: Keeley Beresford, James Cameron-Stewart, Naomi Frederick

Music: Katrina Palmer
Additional music: Kakehole (Martin Hand, David Lockwood)
Edit: Katrina Palmer

Producer (The Quarryman's Daughters) Joby Waldman, Somethin' Else.


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Who made this possible?


Commissioned by Artangel in association with BBC Radio 4. Presented on Portland by Artangel in association with b-side, with the support of The Henry Moore Foundation. End Matter is co-published by Artangel and Book Works. Artangel is generously supported by Arts Council England and the private patronage of the Artangel International Circle, Special Angels and The Company of Angels.