The Scottish Government is looking for someone to answer the question, “How high do birds fly?”
Should artists seek to change the world? That’s where the first discussion ended, having explored the history of pit props; the potential for a poet to contribute to the constraints that a forest manager might have to take account of in planning the management of an area of woodland; the development of ecosystems services assessment and in particular the cultural dimension; Gaelic and the subaltern, and how to protect a bramble patch in Central Scotland. A more reflective and detailed summary of these discussions will be forthcoming in due course.
In the meantime we are very pleased to announce that the next panel (2pm Saturday 9 May 2015, the Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Summerhall) will have on it:
Beth Carruthers is a philosopher, theorist, artist, and curator known internationally for her work and research over three decades exploring the ethics and aesthetics of the human-world relationship. Her primary focus is on the transformative capacities of aesthetic experience, and of the arts in human relations to environment and other beings. She has collaboratively across the arts and sciences on the SongBird project (1998-2002), and in 2006 created a research report for the Canadian Commission of UNESCO on art in sustainability focused on sci-arts collaboration. She has recently begun a collaboration with a neuropsychologist on a project studying interspecies aesthetic engagement in part by imaging the patterns of human brain response to birdsong. Over the past decade she has been developing a theory of “deep aesthetics”, arising from the aesthetics and ontology of Merleau-Ponty, and studies in psychology and cognitive neuroscience. It proposes that aesthetic engagement is potentially transformative of reductive ontology, and hence of cultural practices, looking toward more sustainable futures (see Carruthers, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015). Her most recent publication is “A Subtle Activism of the Heart” in Piper and Szabo-Jones, Sustaining the West: Cultural Response to Canadian Environments, from Wilfred Laurier University Press (May 2015). Also note: “Returning the Radiant Gaze: Visual art and embodiment in a world of subjects” in Brady, J., Elemental, from Gaia Project/Cornerhouse (forthcoming). Beth lives in unceded indigenous Coast Salish territory on Canada’s west coast. She is irregular faculty at Emily Carr University of Art + Design at Vancouver Canada, and currently a researcher at the University of British Columbia.
Amy Cutler, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, School of English, University of Leeds Amy’s main academic research focuses on modern literature and its engagement with environmental politics and with old and new geographical imaginaries of Britain. Her specialist areas of study are coasts and forests in popular, small press, and avant-garde writing. She writes on problems of language, symbolism, and definition in particular environmental imaginations. Amy is the lead academic on the new cross-disciplinary White Rose network, Hearts of Oak: Caring for British Woodland, based at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield, and York.
Murdo Macdonald, Professor of History of Scottish Art, University of Dundee. Murdo’s doctoral thesis (University of Edinburgh, 1986) explored the relationships between art and science. He was editor of Edinburgh Review from 1990-1994. He is author of Scottish Art in Thames and Hudson’s World of Art series. His recent research focus has been as principal investigator of an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project Window to the West/ Uinneag dhan Àird an Iar: Towards a Redefinition of the Visual within Gaelic Scotland (2005-2011). This is a collaboration between the Visual Research Centre of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design at the University of Dundee and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic College in the Isle of Skye. It explores the inter-relationships of contemporary art, Gaelic language and culture, and art history. A further research interest is in the generalist ideas of the cultural activist and ecologist Patrick Geddes.
Scott Donaldson, Creative Scotland. Scott is responsible for film education and environmental development. Scott studied literature, film, education and environmental management. He taught photography and media in London colleges and Scottish universities, photographed for Scottish Natural Heritage and programmed cinema and education at macrobert. From 1997 – 2010 at Scottish Screen, Scott promoted film and moving image education in statutory and tertiary education. Since 2010 at Creative Scotland, he managed the Creative Futures talent development programme and continues to promote film education.
The following and final discussion on 16 May will have a panel of forestry managers and forestry researchers.
You can download the pdf of the exhibition publication SylvaCaledoniaCatalogue
For those of you who are observant you’ll notice that we have reduced the number of discussions from four to three – the one this Saturday 25 April has been cancelled. Look forward to seeing you on 9 May.
As part of Sylva Caledonia, one of Summerhall’s contributions to Edinburgh International Science Festival, we are holding a discussion, Caledonian Everyday in four parts. The first part will take place on Sunday 12 April at 2pm at Summerhall (Anatomy Lecture Theatre).
The key questions are:
- Who knows what (and who decides) about the ancient woodlands of Scotland?
Management of forests is no longer restricted to issues of extraction vs biodiversity. In a field including wild and free forest (no management), community management and extraction, and a science-based biodiversity management system, what are the various implications? Who decides? Who benefits? Who speaks for the forest and other living things?
- What can the arts and humanities contribute to well-being of non-human?
The iconic and of the everyday: where is the Caledonian forest embodied in the central belt? Can a deeper ecological community and its aesthetic experience be nurtured within a city? Is it a bonsai forest or a living ecosystem?
- How can the arts and cultural institutions of Scotland enrich our relationship?
Attachment and the challenges of creating connections: do cultural institutions have a role in the public awareness and well-being of ancient forests? Do the institutions of Scotland enrich our relationship with ancient Caledonian forests? What are the examples of practice in making these connections?
Download the SylvaCaledoniaCatalogue
The subsequent panels will be held on:
- Saturday 25th April, 2pm
- Satuday 9th May, 2pm
- Saturday 16th May, 2pm
This piece, skying: Costa Head, Orkney, by Alec Finlay takes us back to the earliest days of modern wind power in Orkney in the mid 1950s. It’s odd because wind power has been used for thousands of years, but here we have the first modern iteration aimed at generating electricity, rather than grinding corn. It seems remote in so many ways.
Thanks to Scott Donaldson for sharing this article The law of the forest and the freedom of the streets on openDemocracy. Forests play an important role in the evolution of public space in England. The Magna Carta was followed in 1217 by The Charter of the Forest.
The Forest Charter formalised the right of unbonded men to access and use of the goods of the royal forests (grazing, fuel, food), while implicitly assuming the right to wander freely in the landscape as well as providing a place of refuge for those cast out of the social order.
Forests not only played the role that cities now play, forests also offer a conceptual tool for thinking about the public realm in cities today.
In this first issue, we examine a range of botanical fruit cultivars that have been manipulated by human food cultures…
Botanical fruits include most of the world’s major grain crops as well as colorful fruits like apples and mangoes that have extensive cultural and symbolic meaning. But who gets to decide what changes are made in a single species of botanical fruit such as apple, corn, mango or rice?
Food Phreaking Issue 01 is intended to help amateur readers, who are not involved in agronomy, agribusiness or the food industry, familiarize themselves with some of the technical aspects of agricultural biodiversity.
Food Phreaking is the journal of experiments, exploits and explorations of the human food system. We hope you use this survey of botanical fruits as a starting point to understand past and present fruit cultivars, and to imagine a range of potential food futures.
* Contains 22 short stories Food Phreaking stories
* Risograph printed
* 2-color ink, with 3 color cover
* Cover illustration by Jen Tong
* First edition of 500
Printed by DittoPress in London
If you want to take a look at the content, or if you can’t afford a book, feel free to download the PDF of Food Phreaking Issue 01.
The 12×12 project grows out of the powerful story of a North Carolina pediatrician, Dr. Jackie Benton, who ten years ago gave up a luxurious home to live in a 12’ by 12’ off-the-grid house and permaculture farm. The World Policy Institute used this idea to develop a project with the Queens Botanic Gardens, which has grown to an international network.
A creative team, comprising well-known NYC-based architects and artists including Betsy Damon, David D’Ostilio, Simon Draper and Christy Rupp, decided that the project must include all the key substances of living lightly: water, energy, and food. After careful planning, they decided on the following: two 12’ x 12’ structures will take the form of a book-like house that consists of living walls based on the DNA double-helix weave-like design; a rain-collecting upside-down umbrella rooftop with a waterproof layer and root barrier; a moisture retention product (such as a rainwater collecting solar panel rooftop); a drainage system and filter fabric made of flow forms that channel rain water into a large container, to be used as the main water source; an erosion cloth; and a space inside the houses that will be open to the public during the daytime (to be securely locked during the park’s closed hours). Once erected, the space will encourage interaction through slide-out walls that will prompt participants to read/write/reflect about their individual houses and our planetary house and share their visions via daily web posts and social media. Readings from the book Twelve by Twelve and conversations will be held adjacent to the installation, where artists will facilitate interaction and imagination.
Check out the 12×12 project tumblr – in particular have a look at the ‘impact’ section.
We are pleased to highlight the Report just released by the Collins and Goto Studio and Forest Research entitled Future Forest, The Black Wood, Rannoch, Scotland. It features reflection and findings from a year long artist-led creative inquiry into the ecological and cultural meanings and values associated with the Black Wood of Rannoch in Highland Perthshire.
Working back and forth across our disciplines (art and social science) we have produced a deep reading of the historical and current condition of the Black Wood while making a small contribution to ideas about cultural ecosystems services. The report focuses on centuries of conflict that go back to the Jacobites in Rannoch and the fact that this important forest was forfeit to the crown three times. It reflects on 19th century historic management decisions, which created gaps in the cultural/forest landscape relationships and the loss of the native language. The modern history includes visionaries in the Forestry Commission who have conserved this forest for future generations.
This report emerged from local community interest in ancient trails that go back to the transhumance, and how they might be gently revealed and mapped without damaging the forest. Out of the discussion questions emerged about management of the forest, the form and function of the forest today, and what the Black Wood means and to whom is it relevant today:.Is the Black Wood a ‘forest cathedral’ without a local congregation or national recognition? Can future forest ideals be ascertained solely within the domain of science?
The potential benefits of increased national interest and use by people are juxtaposed with the on-going challenges of conducting research, putting long-range plans in place and protecting the forest against the day-to-day interactions with institutions and people, as well as other living things. Managers need to consider the risk of catastrophic weather events and the increased likelihood of pests and disease outbreaks within the changing environmental conditions of today. Everyone involved agreed on one point – no harm should ever come to the Black Wood.
The report explores how cultural values might bring new benefits to ancient Caledonian forests, raising questions about what it means for management and the people of Rannoch and Scotland in general. If you have questions or simply want to discuss the report, please contact us.
David Edwards, Social Scientist
Northern Research Station
Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9SY
COLLINS and GOTO STUDIO
Art Design and Planning
1M Glasgow Sculpture Studio
2 Dawson Road, Glasgow, G4 9SS
We’ve just put up an excellent video from artinscotland.tv documenting Crichton Carbon Centre‘s Nil by Mouth event (produced by Wide Open) at The Scottish Parliament last November. You’ll also find background on the project, lots of info on the scientists from The James Hutton Institute, Rowett Research Institute and SRUC as well as links to pdfs and websites associated with the various artists: Harry Giles, Center for Genomic Gastronomy, Hans Clausen as well as Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman. Read more here.
Creative Carbon Scotland will be running a weekend group residency on Mull again this year, prompted by the following questions, “What will artists’ roles be in future societies? How might artistic practice have contributed to a greener, healthier, more equal planet?” They are looking for 10 artists to participate.
For lots more information visit Creative Carbon Scotland. Deadline 3 March 2015.
If you want to know more about the Mull Resdiency check out 2014.