Lily Ashrowan

Lily Ashrowan

Lily Ashrowan creates playful explorations into how the body might alter its relationship to place, and or break out of the constraints of linear time.

Lily Ashrowan is an artist specialising in performance, moving image and writing. She shifts between the syntax of movement and the chorography of language, to think through our contemporary relationship with our bodies situated in space. These are the many spaces we create and inhabit: how we move through the real virtual space of the internet, the psycho-geographic space of rural landscapes and the conventions of the way we move through certain architectures. Her work explores an uneasy relationship with time, playing with ideas of nostalgia and lost utopias, as well as the non-linearity of quantum time. Non-normative choreography might be one method to think through these ideas, or the use of cut in film editing as was of breaking the continuity of time and space. Throughout there is an emphasis on the body’s physicality: its limitations, inclinations and how these might be extended. These films are attempts at exploration: rituals to raise ghosts, experiments in altering our conventions of our movement, poetic speech as a way of reaching out across space and time.

Born in 1999, Lily grew up in the Scottish Borders surrounded by hills and artists film, she currently lives in London and is completing a degree in the visual cultures department at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Peter Scott

HD Video / 02:21 min / 2019

Set to a sonic landscape of found sound, ‘Peter Scott’ is a document of interventions by Lily Ashrowan and Emily Webb in the space of a derelict textile factory in the artists hometown of Hawick. It is a playful queering of space, intuitively finding new ways of interacting with the architecture of the mill, as well as the objects we encountered within it. It references a personal history, as well as the history of a town haunted by the decline of these factories and the labour of many women and men who worked and moved through the space previously.


HD Video / 01:49 min / 2021

‘Sideways’ considers the space between my body and the bodies of those I love, its premise a quote from Simone Weil, “To love purely is to consent to distance, it is to adore the distance between ourselves and that which we love.” It responds to a contemporary politics of touch in the aftermath of the pandemic, trying to satisfy a desire for physical proximity. The text is a poetic half fiction, which considers how we might be able to reach across time to access friends who are no longer alive, or love people who are otherwise far from us.

Sense Forms

HD Video / 05:50 min / 2022

The mirror is a methodology and a metaphor: both a ritual to extend the reach of the body through replicating its image, and a means of reflecting and looking back. It is set to a track by Shen, my father’s ambient band from the early 90’s, whilst parts of the text are taken from the Bijack of Kabir, a book of mystical poetry that my father quotes from elsewhere in this album. There is a layering of time, my parents’ youth and my own, and a parallel consideration of how we come to inhabit bodies beyond the material limitations of our own. The mirror image of the body, like the shared body, like Daisy Hildyard’s second body, might be a way of thinking through expanded ideas of selfhood and accountability.