wild not wild


Katrina filming Ruth Janssen for Imagining Natural Scotland commission

Katrina McPherson filming dancer Ruth Janssen for the Imagining Natural Scotland commission collaboration with the Centre for Mountain Studies.

wild not wild 


A Critical Forest Art Practice. | Imagining Natural Scotland

Interesting to link with previous article on degeneration/regeneration of Highland landscapes.

The iconic Caledonian forest is a remnant ecosystem. Composed of vibrant living matter it has its own agency and significant generative and reproductive power. Culturally it is an idea lost in time that lacks presence and visibility today.


As part of their Imagining Natural Scotland project, Tim Collins and Reiko Goto’ s inquiry leads to a set of questions:

How do we contribute to thepotential for a tree or forest community to prosper in an age of environmental change?

Can we reveal empathic interrelationship between people and trees in urban and rural settings?

Can we work with others to embody ideas or experiences that effect or reshape the perception and normative value of extraordinary living things.

via 1. A Critical Forest Art Practice. | Imagining Natural Scotland.

Landscape − National Galleries of Scotland

Scottish Art Landscape

Landscape with Tourists at Loch Katrine

Landscape with Tourists at Loch Katrine, by John Knox

“The Scottish landscape has been one of the principal subjects for native artists for centuries. Dramatic mountain wildernesses that have become synonymous with Scotland first emerged in the eighteenth century. Artists began to approach the landscape with a new romantic feeling that was in itself part of a wider cultural drive to celebrate and ‘discover’ Scotland. Artists, writers and poets all contributed to the emergence of Scotland’s national identity, and the effects of their efforts still course through our modern notion of Scotland and Scottishness. That landscape painting helped to define the nation is an artistic accomplishment unique to Scotland.”

Highland Landscape with a Waterfall

Highland Landscape with a Waterfall, by Horatio McCulloch

via Landscape − Scottish Art − Collection − National Galleries of Scotland.

I wonder if this artistic ‘accomplishment’ has done us any favours in the long term.  Maybe our understanding of our environment is distorted by this artistic mediation spanning 200 years. Maybe the fact that we can appreciate a landscape purely for its aesthetic value is a good thing if it isnt only valued as a heritage artefact  but recognised as an important ecosystem.

Creative Scotland: Inspiring landscapes – National Scenic Areas

Very short notice residency opportunity.

Creative Scotland: Inspiring landscapes – National Scenic Areas.

This residency will enable the selected artist(s) to explore some of Scotland’s most outstanding landscapes, and through developing their understanding of their special qualities be able to interpret and celebrate these places. We envisage the artist(s) would
• develop an understanding of the process of identifying the special qualities of these places, and why these areas have been identified;
• be able to recognise the special qualities and how they are expressed across the individual NSA;
• through engaging with the communities who live and work in the NSA, or people who visit them, explore our understanding and national recognition of what is special about these landscapes and what it means for their management of landscape change.

It is anticipated that the selected artist(s) would:
• create a new piece of work that will either be presented/installed within the NSA, or elsewhere in Scotland appropriate to the intended audience; and
• present a workshop for relevant SNH staff and stakeholders, reflecting on the work and recommendations for delivering similar work in other NSAs.

This opportunity is available in: Eilean Siar, Highland, North Ayrshire, Perth and Kinross, Scottish Borders

SNH is a national agency funded by the Scottish Government to provide advice on the care and enjoyment of all of Scotland’s nature and landscapes. Our statutory purpose is to secure the conservation and enhancement of nature and landscapes; to foster their understanding and facilitate their enjoyment and promote their sustainable use and management.

The 40 NSAs were designated by Scottish Ministers in 1980, and cover nearly 13% of Scotland. They range from Shetland in the north to the Fleet Valley in the south, and Eildon and Leaderfoot Hills in the east to St. Kilda in the west. They include our most spectacular mountain areas, more managed landscapes, and the outstanding diversity of coastal and island landscapes. The largest is over 1400 km2, the smallest less than 9 km2.

For further information, please contact simon.brooks@snh.gov.uk (Simon Brooks), or call 01463 725315, or visithttp://www.snh.gov.uk/docs/A977690.pdf. The deadline is Friday 19 July 2013 at 16:00.

Art, Maps and Books: Visualising and Re-visualising the Highlands

I’m re-blogging this mainly because the original link I posted has changed but also because it’s content and subject matter are really worth paying close attention to. Broadly, Murdo Macdonald examines how the visual arts have represented highland landscape and culture and in doing so I think asks questions of contemporary artists and curators to reflect on their own practice.

Art, Maps and Books: Visualising and Re-visualising the Highlands.

Art, Maps and Books: Visualising and Re-visualising the Highlands Plenary Address: Lie of the Land Conference, University of Stirling, 26-30 July 2006. Murdo Macdonald, Professor of History of Scottish Art, University of Dundee.

On the same site – Five Essays into Highland Space is also worth reading.


via Art, Maps and Books: Visualising and Re-visualising the Highlands.

Successful Applications announced | Imagining Natural Scotland

Successful Applications announced | Imagining Natural Scotland.


1/ Project Title: Caledonia: the Forest Is Moving, Breadalbane

Applicant Organisation: Collins & Goto Studio  www.collinsandgoto.com

Project Description: A series of residencies and partnerships to produce sculpture, new media and sound artworks that promote public discourse about the cultural import of future forests in Perthshire.

2/ Project Title: Dreaming Scotland

Applicant Organisation: Lowri Potts http://flyingpizza.wordpress.com/

Project Description: Imagined and actual natural Scotland as expressed linguistically by New Arrivals anticipating a different life and contrasted with the perspectives of established residents; shared through an innovative installation and website

3/ Project Title: Mirror Lands

Applicant Organisation: Mark Lyken www.lykenlove.com

Project Description: A collaboration between electronic composer Mark Lyken, filmmaker Emma Dove and Aberdeen University Ecologists. Exploring Scotland’s ecological consciousness through a deconstruction of natural history filmmaking.

4/ Project Title: A new EIA for Natural Scotland: Environment, Imagination and Aesthetics

Applicant Organisation: Jo Hodges  www.johodges.co.uk

Project Description: An investigation into the changing nature of Scottish landscape through a creative reimagining of the Environmental Impact Assessment, examining perceptions of beauty, value, place and community.

5/ Project Title: Montrose Bay: The Changing Coast

Applicant Organisation: Jean Duncan

Project Description: To explore how the visual arts and public engagement can influence understanding in the local community of coastal change and environmental risk at Montrose Bay.

6/ Project Title: Wild Land

Applicant Organisation: Simon Fildes

Project Description: A cross artform project using video to work with landform mapping data to explore how conceptions of wildness differ according to the observer’s point of view and how this can be and is influenced by romantic representation of the wild lands in the past and present.

7/ Project Title: Thinking like a Mountain

Applicant Organisation: Esther Woolfson

Project Description: Through artistic and scientific observation and collaboration, we aim to trace and to illuminate changing concepts of the role of  ‘predator’ through the land and mindscape of Scotland.

8/ Project Title: Search Film

Applicant Organisation: Duncan Marquiss

Project Description: In ‘Search Film’ the artist observes his father the biologist Mick Marquiss as he tracks goshawks in rural Aberdeenshire. The film extends into a broader conversation on human foraging behaviour.

9/ Project Title: Through The Looking Glass – Clyde Reflections

Applicant Organisation: Stephen Hurrel  www.hurrelvisualarts.com

Project Description: A short-film based around interviews with a diverse range of people, including scientific experts, who have a close relationship with the marine environment of the Firth of Clyde. These interviews will form the basis of a ‘fluid film’ that features HD video footage from above and below the waterline.

10/ Project Title: Portraits of Scots Pine

Applicant Organisation: Marcus Leotaud  www.leotaud.com

Project Description: Understanding and documenting Caledonian pine forests, through eight tree ‘portraits’ and a map; in particular to attempt to portray the Dothistroma Needle Blight which threatens them.

11/ Project Title: Water of Life

Applicant Organisation: Rob St John

Project Description: Through drawings, photographs, writing and sound, we will illuminate the dependencies of humans and urban biodiversity on Edinburgh’s water network, exploring fluid boundaries between the visible and obscured, the ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’.

12/ Project Title: Graphic Archaeology (working title)

Applicant Organisation: Lisa Mackenzie, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, ECA, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh

Project Description: An exercise in graphic archaeology wherein the postcard view is critiqued through the lens of ecology and the practice of drawing to reveal some other realities of the Scottish landscape.

13/ Project Title: Making space for water: a poetry of place

Applicant Organisation: Hazel Lesley Harrison

Project Description: To gain greater insight into the ‘worlds within worlds’ that the river carries; and to convey these through the forms and technique of poetry.

14/ Project Title: Barnacles – Fish or Fowl?

Applicant Organisation: Philippa Mitchell  http://philippamitchell.blogspot.co.uk/

Project Description: An exploration in collaboration with the artist’s husband (who is a bird ecologist with the Waterfowl and Wetlands Trust) of how barnacle geese have been represented in visual art and how this has affected their public perception and the management of the population over the decades. The exploration will be through public engagement projects and education work as well as the artist’s own work.

15/ Project Title: Tales From The River Tweed

Applicant Organisation: Bright Club  www.brightclubscot.org

Project Description: A storytelling journey along the River Tweed, from the source to the sea.

Over the coming weeks further details about these exciting projects will be published on this website on individual project webpages.