Boyle Family About Texts Works Information

Boyle Family – Barra project, World Series, 1992 – 2010

On show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
Barra exhibition now open until 13 February 2011

Boyle Family consider themselves contemporary archaeologists, examining and presenting evidence of the world as it is. At the core of their work is the World Series which began in 1968 with the random selection of 1000 sites from a large map of the World. For the past forty years they have worked on twenty five World Series projects, locating the exact sites and studying each in a variety of ways. Their earth studies combine real material from the site with resins and paints to record it as accurately as they can. They also examine plant and animal life at the site, nearby human habitation, the weather and themselves as active agents engaged in the project.

There are three British sites: one on the island of Bute; one in Norfolk and one at the coast of the Hebridean island of Barra. Boyle Family’s attempts to make the Barra World Series work began in the 1970s and it became one of their major projects, eventually taking eighteen years, and many trips to complete. Some of the problems they encountered were well documented in a memorable film made by Georgia Boyle and Fran Robertson for BBC Scotland in 2001. Following the death of Mark Boyle in 2005 the Barra project has been completed by Joan, Georgia and Sebastian and is now being exhibited for the first time. The finished work includes an extraordinary video installation of the surface of the sea at the exact site, two earth studies made on the island and electron microphotographs of animal and plant life found at the site.

» Tate Shots film of the Barra Project exhibition.

Limited Edition Prints

You can view larger images as a slide show by clicking on the thumbnails below. The larger images shall appear in the window. Hover your mouse over the right hand side of the image to view the next button, and the left hand side of the image to view the previous button.
Plankton 1.1 Plankton 1.2

To coincide with the exhibition Boyle Family are releasing a limited edition of six electron microscope photographs related to the Barra project. Animal, Vegetable and Mineral, Barra (2010) consists of three pairs of microscopic enlargements of plankton, algae and silica found at the World Series site, with the second of each pair being a detail of the first.

Edition size 30 (+ 3 ap), signed and numbered by the artists.
Unframed inkjet prints on 260g Kodak photographic paper.
Paper size 15” x 15”, image size 13 ½” x 13 ½”.
Initial prices for this edition are:
single prints £400; pairs £750; complete sets £2100, including vat.
Numbers 1 to 10 are available only as complete sets;
11 to 20 as sets or pairs;
21 to 30 as sets, pairs or single prints.

For further information please contact Nathalie at Boyle Family’s project space, construction, on: 020 7375 3135 or email

Algae 1.1 Algae 1.2
Silica 1.1 Silica 1.2