National Museum, Edinburgh

I have just spent another few very happy hours in this wonderful museum and today I learned that I weigh the same as a giant anteater, and I am made up entirely of star dust.


Kandinsky in Govan; Art, Spirituality and the Future

I went to this conference at the Pearce Institute in Govan.  It was excellent, and although Kandinsky himself never came to Govan, lots of people from all over the place came to the conference.  However the talk that most inspired me was by Harry Burns, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer.  His talk was not recorded, but he was particularly talking about the effect of despair and hopelessness on individuals and communities, and the role art and spirituality can play in that.  Here is the link to the last few minutes of a talk delivered at the NHS Scotland Conference 2011 by Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer.

Katri Walker

Looking at the work of Dalziel and Scullion reminded me of an exhibition I saw last summer during the Edinburgh Festival by Katri Walker.  Her triptych film Northwest was being shown, a 10 minute loop of the empty amazing wide Assynt landscape with a soundtrack of music.  It was absolutely beautiful.  In a way I would have just liked to hear the ambient sounds, of the wind over the microphone and the occasional bird call, but actually the sound of the human voice on the score did point the absence of signs of people in the landscape.  Katri Walker writes about the work on her website:

This work alludes to the historical relationship between Scottish emigration to the States and the emergence of the American cowboy while exploring mankind’s relationship to land, land ownership and the visual depiction of land as a signifier for notions of nationalism.

Wounded Knee , a singer and experimental vocalist, created the musical score that draws on and plays with the melancholic tones of the Spaghetti Western and Scottish folk music to create a unique and ambiguous cinematic soundtrack.

Katri Walker is a very generous artist, on her website is tons of information and it is possible to see some of her films full length which is really helpful.  Another thing there is a link to this article about how mountains have not always been seen as beautiful,

Dalziel + Scullion

After looking at my video’s of the tide changing my tutor told me to look at the work of Dalziel and Scullion.  I feel quite blown away, it is hard to explain when the beauty and wildness of nature in their works is beyond words.

They have a text on the home page of their website which explains the motivation and thinking behind their work

Our work explores mankind’s relationship with nature and how we interact with the ecology of the earth. It is widely agreed that mankind is at a critical point in our collective history where our philosophical, political and economic drivers have taken us to a point of ecological and humanitarian crisis.We believe that new ideas and ways of living will be born out of revolutionary attitudes towards nature and that like the Copernican revolution when the earth was revealed not to be at the entre of our universe, we need to awaken to the fact that the earth does not revolve around mankind.We are under the gaze of the deer, the hawk, the wolf and the storm – yet our co-existence as equal entities reliant and bound to everything else seems a long way off in our social and philosophical development. Our work strives to challenge existing attitudes towards nature and reawaken audiences to a wider ecology that encompasses both the abundance and limitations of the earth’s bounty.

I have always felt that when I photograph or film scenes that are just there in nature, that I cannot consider them my ‘work’, it would like claiming credit for the beauty of nature, when all I have done is turn on my camera.  And yet I know how profoundly I am affected when my eyes and mind are open and I am immersed in the beauty of nature.  And this can be anywhere, in the city or out in wildness of the Highlands, or elsewhere, below the surface or up at 37000 feet.

I need to revisit my attitude..and actually I am reminded of Lewis Hyde’s book titled The Gift I read last year, about the nature of creativity.  The artistic ego just seems to get in the way.