Cape Farewell at Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Stumbled across the Sea Change exhibition a couple of days ago, part of the Cape Farewell project.  Artists and scientists together working and exploring seas and islands of the Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland and St Kilda.  So many very moving and powerful insights into this harsh, beautiful landscape and the fragile harmony that has existed over the years between humans and nature. I came away feeling like I had been to sea myself.

There were two films in this exhibition which really stayed with me afterwards.  The first was David Harradine’s film It’s the Skin You’re Living In.  Harradine’s website describes the film as being about climate, migration and home.  Somehow, though, I find it works beyond words and the explanations are unnecessary.. the art does the work. 

It’s the Skin You’re Living In

The second film is set in The Italien Chapel, Orkney where Karine Polwart sings “Freedom Come All Ye”, written by Hamish Henderson, the best and most beautiful performance of this inspiring anthem.

For those who aren’t familiar with this song here is a link to the Scots lyrics and a translation into English and a bit of information about it.

Freedom Come All Ye lyrics

The Cape Farewell Project describe their work as follows:

“Cape Farewell works in partnership with scientific and cultural institutions to deliver an innovative climate programme of public engagement. We use the notion of expedition – Arctic, Island, Urban and Conceptual – to interrogate the scientific, social and economic realities that lead to climate disruption, and to inspire the creation of climate focused art which is disseminated across a range of platforms – exhibitions, festivals, publications, digital media and film.”

Do go if you can, the exhibition is on until Jan 26th 2014.


About Lines

Lines of separation, of definition and of connection have been a way of conceptualising ideas for me over the last few years…and so this list I found this list in Tim Ingold’s 2007 book titled Lines: A brief history made me think about my own definitions.

Seventeen different meanings of the word ‘line’ from the Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson published in 1755


1.       Longitudinal extension

2.       A slender string

3.       A thread extended to direct any operations

4.       The string that sustains the angler’s hook

5.       Lineaments, or marks in the hands of face

6.       Delineation, sketch

7.       Contour, outline

8.       As much as is written from one margin to the other; a verse

9.       Rank

10.   Work thrown up; trench

11.   Method, disposition

12.   Extension, limit

13.   Equator, equinoctial circle

14.   Progeny, family, ascending or descending

15.   A line is one tenth of an inch

16.   A letter; as, I read your lines

17.   Lint or flax

Thank you Samuel Johnson.

So here we go with my operational lines.. 17 for starters.  Oh dear.. this may be the start of something.

1. Writing lines (remembered from school, it was a punishment.)

2. Above and Below the line (one into the other..fracturing)

3. Railway lines (to infinity ..)

4. A Line in the sand (and no further)

5. The poverty line (please not below)

6. High tide line.. (where the washed up are deposited)

7.Telephone lines (becoming less tangible these days)

8.Borderline (at the edge, don’t go any further)

9. Lines of longitude and latitude (the latter are parallel lines again)

10. Connecting lines.. journey lines, bridges

11. Dividing Lines, borders, rivers, mountain ranges

12. Family lines.. (who am I? Pick and mix like most of us)

13. Timelines

14. Perimeter lines (KEEP OUT)

15. Line of sight and sightlines (maximum range of VHF radio waves )

16. The treeline

17. Crossing the line

Martha Rosler ….

I really highly rate the work of Martha Rosler.  Her art addresses politics, the personal and impersonal, and private and public space… especially the work around airports and their qualities of ‘non-space’ .  Railway stations lift my spirits and send my imagination on wonderful journeys whereas airports, in contrast, seem to be about crushing people into units to be managed from one queue to the next whilst shaking as much cash out of them as possible.

Anyway.. earlier this year Rosler participated in the ‘Economy’ exhibition in Stills, Edinburgh, and her work consisted of a text written upon the gallery wall.  That text resonated with the nature of high speed travel, impersonally passing people, places and histories being made.  Below it has been imposed it over a wind chart of the north Atlantic printed for a journey from Barbados to Manchester.  The thick black lines represent the jet streams, channels of fast moving air at high altitude.  I hope she won’t mind.

martha rosler weather chart