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MFA SPRING SHOW 2018: GALLIMAUFRY

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New works from my latest series Living Objects (2018) are currently on show at Audian Gallery at Simon Fraser University's School for Contemporary Arts as part of the MFA Spring Show 2018: Gallimaufry. 

Living Objects (2018) is concerned with the points of relation where human constructions and nonhuman constructions meet. As mycelium grows, it comes into contact with its environment, forming networks, patterns of relationality, and conduits through which energy can be distributed to other organisms. Mycelium is a gateway species that opens the door for other forms of biological life to thrive. It allows us to observe and experience relations of matter formation and energy distribution, in real time.

Living Objects (2018) investigates the capacity of mycelium spores to produce shapes, textures, colours, densities, and structures of resonance over the course of their natural lifespan. This has produced a series of live collaborations through which living works have been cultivated.

The MFA Spring Show: Gallimaufry is open from the 3 - 12th May 2018. The MFA Spring Show 2018 also features works from artists Graeme Wahn, Minahil Bukhari and Jennifer Anderson. This exhibition is paralleled by performances and enactments in the studios and theatres at SFU's SCA created by Brian Postalian and Company, Jennifer Anderson, and Alexandre Klinke. For more information check out the Audain Gallery website. To book tickets for Spring Show Performances visit the SCA online.  


W.I.P Group Show, Downtown East Side, Vancouver, Canada.

W.I.P (pronounced "whip") presents a series of works by 1st year MFA candidates for our first show of the year at 611 Alexander Visual Art Studios in the Downtown East Side. An interdisciplinary group, the cohorts expertise varies from sound and music to visual and performance art. The WIP is a constructive space where artists are seeking to  investigate diverse possibilities in the next steps of their creative practices. WIP is a presentation opportunity, where artists are exploring and spatializing their works in relation to other artists. Exhibiting Artists include: Amy Wilson, Jessica McMann, George Rahi, Alex Klinke, Graeme Whan, Minahil Bukhari, Jennifer Anderson and Brian Postalian.


Eden Project Research Trip

This summer AWA took a research trip to the world renowned Eden Project! The Eden Project is learning project, created to celebrate our connection with and dependancies on plants and each other. As a living laboratory, the Eden Project works to support a wide range of learning and transformational projects dedicated to exploring what it means to live, learn and grow in a changing world. Here are some of our nature and learning highlights!


Isle of Gigha School: Plant Swap

To celebrate the end of  Isle of Gigha School Gardening Week the Achamore Gardens Trust hosted a wonderful Plant Swap and Afternoon Tea at the Isle of Gigha Village Hall. The afternoon was a wonderful opportunity for visitors and locals to exchange plants with fellow gardeners, sample some fabulous local baking and support the development of the School’s Gardening Projects. From seedlings to trees and shrubs, plants were exchanged like for like.   

The School’s Projects include: The Gigha School Veg Pallet Gardens, The award winning Keep Scotland Beautiful: One Planet Picnic Garden designed by Bailey Bannatyne which will be on show at Gardening Scotland 2017 and The BEE WILD! project; a micro restoration project on the school grounds supported by Grow WildKew Gardens and the Big Lottery Fund

ONE PLANET PICNIC POCKET GARDEN DESIGNS

One Planet Picnic Pocket Gardens is a competition run by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful. 

"The competitions provides a great opportunity for pupils aged 3-18 to investigate our plant and food heritage, celebrate our culture and build and develop creative design skills.  This year it is part of their Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology partner programme." 

- KSB

The brief for the designers had three elements:

  1. To create the garden from something which would otherwise be thrown away.
  2. To create a garden using a mix of plants that could be eaten. 
  3. To create a garden which attracts biodiversity. 

This year four students from Isle of Gigha submitted work to the competition with a fantastic range of innovative design. The completion was judged by Members of the Garden for Life Forum with outstanding results for Isle of Gigha School. Bailey Bannatyne's Isle of Gigha Garden was selected as one of this years winners! Her work will be on show at Gardening Scotland 2017,  Scotland's premiere gardening and outdoor living show this June. AWA will be visiting the Festival this year and we look forward to seeing her work in full bloom!

 Image Curtesy of Isle of Gigha Primary School. © 2017 AWA. 

Image Curtesy of Isle of Gigha Primary School. © 2017 AWA. 

MY ISLE OF GIGHA GARDEN BY BAILEY BANNATYNE

First I had to think about what I was going to do so I talked with my family about it. I thought about doing a map of Scotland made out of different food plants, but then I thought maybe not. My dad and I went for a walk around the Isle of Gigha and saw so many different flowers. I wanted to make a garden that was a map of that so I went home and we decided on the plan.

On the plan I have put these things: 

  • Watercress - for the golf course
  • Achamore Gardens – because it is so colourful (mixed leaf chard is very colourful too)
  • Heather with purple leaves – because it grows on Gigha    and the bees love it for food
  • Nasturtium flowers - for our golden beaches  
  • Giant’s tooth standing stone - driftwood because it looks like a tall piece
  • Pebbles  - for the coastline
  • Mini king palm trees - because we have lots of them here
  • Windmills made of recycled plastic – because our dancing ladies help us to have lots of renewable energy and we are all trying our best to reduce, reuse and recycle.   
  • Blue lobelia  - for the sea  
  • Mixed herbs - for the grass and hills because our grass helps our cows to make lovely creamy milk
  • Painted stones - for the houses and buildings. 

I don’t usually garden at home so I am looking forward to making this garden and getting it to look really beautiful. I am looking forward to painting the houses and to drawing out the actual size of the island using soil and sand. I think that growing the flowers and plants might be hard so I will need help with that. 

My mum and dad helped me and I am very happy with my design. It is going to be great up in Edinburgh, especially when people see our lovely island all made from flowers.       

By Bailey Bannatyne

 Image Curtesy of Isle of Gigha Primary School. © 2017 AWA. 

Image Curtesy of Isle of Gigha Primary School. © 2017 AWA. 

We had a brilliant time at the Isle of Gigha Village Hall for the the Isle of Gigha School: Plant Swap. Plants were swapped, cake was eaten and the gardening buzz of the summer was in full swing in our mini pavilion. Big thanks to the Achamore Gardens Trust for hosting us and to all those who attended and donated plants and funds! We raised  £131.23 which will be put towards the school's gardening projects! Once again congrats to Bailey Bannatyne who's award winning One Planet Picnic Pocket Garden will be on show at Gardening Scotland 2017! 

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BEE WILD! our series of micro restoration projects supported by Grow WildKew Gardens and the Big Lottery Fund will launch this June. For the latest news on the BEE WILD! project watch this space.

HAPPY SUMMER!

Amy


Isle of Stories Festival 2017: AWA WORKSHOPS

© AWA 2017

The Isle of Stories weekend was humming with activities for all ages from Shakespeare on the Beach to a massive community lunch at the Community Village Hall. As part of the Festival Team we were delighted to welcome visitors and families from all over Kintyre and further afield. Achamore Gardens provided a beautiful site for AWA's curated line up for Isle of Stories Festival 2017 with storytelling sessions and workshops by Storytellers Amanda Edmiston and Eric Brennan in the Walled Garden and Botanical inspired arts sessions with AWA in the the Gardens Education Hut. 

AWA would like to say a huge thank you to all those who helped make the Festival possible; the staff, parents and children of Isle of Gigha School, Achamore Gardens Staff and our wonderful storytellers! We are delighted to announce that we helped the Isle of Gigha School Parent Council raise £854.75 for the Isle of Gigha School Fund. Isle of Stories Festival was brought to you by Isle of Gigha School, Amy Wilson Arts, Achamore Gardens and the Scottish Book Trust. 


 AWA: Family Workshops

Inspired by the magnificent gardens of Achamore, AWA ran Drop In Workshops for all ages in printmaking and natural crafts. Participants work was exhibited in the Achamore Garden, Education Hut over the festival period. Check out our workshop highlights below > 


Isle of Stories Festival 2017: AWA WORKSHOPS

On Sunday the 28th of MAY, AWA will be running arts workshops in Achamore Gardens on the Isle of Gigha for Isle of Stories Festival 2017. Isle of Stories is a collection of creative encounters and opportunities for storytelling, story making and story sharing. Join us this MAY for Isle of Stories Festival 2017!

Our workshops are inspired by the mysterious and exotic plants and woodlands that make up this marvellous island garden. AWA will join a line up of fantastic storytellers, makers and creatives. All our workshops are free and are suitable for all ages and abilities. The Isle of Stories Festival is brought you by Isle of Gigha School, Achamore Gardens Trust and the Scottish Book Trust. 


SUNDAY: AWA at ACHAMORE GARDENS

 Family Workshops with AWA

Inspired by the magnificent gardens of Achamore, AWA will be running Drop in Workshops for all ages in printmaking and natural crafts through out the day on Sunday. Participants work with be exhibited in the Achamore Garden, Education Hut over the festival period. Check out our workshops below > 

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PRINT MAKING WORKSHOP

Inspired by the amazing range of exotic plants, booming colours and wild patterns at Achamore Gardens, this drop in workshop will give you the opportunity to be inspired by nature and create your own handmade print. 

This workshop will teach skills in collage, relief print and mark making. 

Admission Free: Drop in 

Session Times: 11:00am  - 1.00pm 

Session length:  2 hours 

Location: ACHAMORE GARDENS EDUCATION HUT

JOURNEY STICK CHALLENGE  

Collect your Journey Stick from the Hut and set off on a wild trail through the Achamore Woodlands. Mark your journey by collecting the unexpected, the small and unexplained, the colourful, the squishy, the weird, the wonderful. Capture your findings with spindly threads. Look High! Look Low! and Watch Out! Who knows what mysteries you might discover! 

Admission Free: Drop in 

Session Times: 2:30 - 4:00pm  

Session length:  1 hour 30 min 

Location: ACHAMORE GARDENS EDUCATION HUT


see full Line up below and Visit Achamore Gardens online to find out more!

AWA LEARNING PROGRAMME 2017 LAUNCH!

AWA's Learning Programme for 2017 launched in March with the start of our Spring Workshops Season.  

\ WORKSHOPS 

Our Spring Season Workshops are inspired by the Earth Charter, a universal expression of ethical principles to foster a more sustainable future. As part of our learning programme these workshops will be the first in a series which will introduce students aged 5 -11 to key Ecoliteracy concepts through placed based learning adventures. AWA is delighted to be partnering with Isle of Gigha Primary School to facilitate the start of this new workshop series. 

Our first workshop introduced the process of decomposition to students through a costal Litter Hunt and a group drawing session. The second half of this workshop explored plastics in the marine environment through global and local case studies and the creation of collage works by students.  

Our Systems Thinking Workshop centred around a coastal expedition where students identified and gathered living things. Group drawings at our beach lab introduced the concept of ecosystems and gave the opportunity for students to express and explore the relationships between living things, their environment and human beings. A huge thank you to Amrutha Krishna R, Annabelle Action-Bond, Victor Okechukwu from Earth Charter International's Ethics, Leadership and Sustainability Programme 2017 and Sarah Dobson from Earth Charter International for their input and support for this workshop. 

TO FIND OUT MORE SEE OUR EVENTS BELOW

AWA's workshops change from season to season.  To find out more about our other workshops and our 2017 Learning Programme visit our learning pageYou can also sign up to our news letter for updates on all our learning services through out the year and stay connected with live updates via our social media. 


Earth Charter International 2017

I am is delighted to announce that I have been awarded an Earth Charter International Scholarship for their 2017 Leadership, Sustainability and Ethics Programme. 

The Earth Charter is a universal expression of ethical principles to foster sustainable development.

The Charters 4 pillars: Respect and Care for the Community of Life, Ecological Integrity, Social and Economic Justice, and Democracy, Nonviolence and Peace, outline 16 guiding principles for living, that seek to steward into being, a future of greater justice, sustainability and peace. The language of the Charter calls people towards collective action in order to address the issues that connect us together as a global community.

I started my socially engaged artistic practice in 2012, and engaging others in new ways to navigate issues of environment and international conflict has been the central concern of my work. As I begin to take steps towards developing a pedagogical arts framework suitable for a changing world, I increasingly find myself drawn to the practice of Education for Sustainable Development. The Earth Charter’s ethics and concerns speak poignantly to me and raise, a diverse array of new approaches from which I can learn and embody in my artistic practice.

The Earth Charter Initiative is the global network that embraces, uses and integrates the Earth Charter principles. This January I will join a programme which will connect 30 emerging practitioners from all over the globe. The Earth Charter Initiative's Youth Programme in Leadership, Sustainability and Ethics seeks to "prepare young people with the skills and knowledge to be effective sustainability leaders and implement Earth Charter-inspired projects, contributing towards a more sustainable and peaceful world.

The Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development at the University for Peace will play online host to the network of learners. I will be carrying out my Earth Charter inspired projects on the Isle of Gigha where I will seek to connect their children and youth to other Island communities living in different environments around the world. I will also be offering Human Rights Education and opportunities for the community to creatively investigate their environment and the current environmental issues that affect their lives.

To read more about the Earth Charter Initiative and read the Earth Charter online for free visit EarthCharter.org

If your not already moved by the Earth Charter’s vision then I will leave you to contemplate the future with the words of Prince Ea from Spencer Sharps award winning short film from Film4Climate Global Video Competition 2016

Amy Wilson

JUPITER ARTLAND 2016

Dedicated to sculpture and environmental arts, Jupiter Artland is a historic estate radically transformed through one couples contemporary vision.  

Robert and Nicky Wilson bought the Jacobean Mannor, Bonninton House and its estate in 1999. Since then Jupiter Artland has slowly emerged through their woodlands from the ground up. The Estate hosts a contemporary permanent collection with works by internationally acclaimed artists such as Antony Gormley, Cornelia Parker and Andy Goldsworthy. This permanent collection sits alongside a programme of temporary exhibitions through out the year. These exhibitions invite visitors to consider their environment and how they interact with it through new, site specific, experiential and experimental works.  

Open season to season, the educational programme engages all ages, from toddlers to teaching professionals and art practitioners. When I heard about JAL's Continual Professional Development Course for Art in the Outdoors I was instantly on board. 

AUTUMN

Throughout my early years, I was raised outside and on the move over Canada's various monumental landscapes. I have nurtured a great love of nature and over the years have aimed to become more critically conscious of my environment and how I interact with it. Working outside and site specifically is starting to become integral to my work and raw materials from breath to dirt, natural to the reclaimed hold increased fascination for me. The opportunity to encounter a diverse collection of contemporary works which focus on the matter of nature, either in thinking or physical form, was really exciting to me.

I had never been to a sculpture park before and this was the first time I had encountered the work of some of my favourite artists in their intended form (not in books, tv, or in a gallery format). On a rare sunny/warm Scottish autumn day I joined a group of educators and artists for a guided tour of the estate and the works rooted in amongst it. 

Suck by Anish Kapoor is a towering prison of red rusting metals which can be encountered amongst the lime green of JAL's beach forest. The cage positioned just so, offers you a seemly bottomless void within. No position you take on the periphery can reveal its depth. Voids are a fascination in Kapoor's work. Suck invites you into that mystery and challenges the  imagination to confront an absence that is somehow ominously present. 

My favourite work came in the form of Stone House Bonnington by Andy Goldsworthy, a bothy hidden amongst winding paths and dimly lit tree groves. The house is inhabited by bed rock, which is slowly revealed as an occupant as the eye adjusts to the changing light from moving trees outside. There is a particular sense of stepping on someones toes as you walk over crevice and mound. This unsuspecting house, built not as gallery but a home was an unexpected surprise. Goldsworthy's work Stone Coppice litters the trails in amongst the Badger Wood. Boulders perch and recline into the folds and arms of coppiced trees to create a growing/living work. The weight of gravity and vertical lifts form a beautiful trail of relationships to observe, the energy palpable between rock and tree.   

Helen Chadwick's garden of Piss Flowers are arranged in one of the many court yard spaces across JAL. Amongst one of the first to be nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize, Helen Chadwick embraces the use of materials shunned for being culturally or historical taboo. Urine presents to us one such material. The flower like forms were cast via impressions left from urinating in snow. Chadwick's work instigates a focus on the borders which govern what we see as beautiful or ugly, clean or dirty. Such a successful demonstration of how such borders can be transversed makes these flowers worth a second, third and forth look. 

Christian Boltanski has several works throughout the estate, both inside and outside, including a new addition to the permanent collection Animatas. Using an island site, Boltanski spiked the ground with fine bells, a skyward representation of the stars visible the night of his birth. The sounds of the bells in high and low wind are enchanting as you walk through high grasses on the shore. The bells remind me of the Will-o'-the-wisp in ancient tales; spirits of change, direction and dis/orientation. Boltanski also offers the opportunity for visitors to record their heart beats for his famous work Les Archives de Coerur. The recordings made here join a colossal archive. Our familiar yet displaced sound waves upload and soon take up residence on the uninhabited Isle of Teshima, Japan. 

Rivers by Tania Kovats gives us a beautiful structure to consider the mapping of distance, time and substance. The work combines geographical research with expanded forms of drawing which play a key part in all of Kovats' works. Rivers is a beautiful space for contemplation, viewing the pond below and a brilliant quiet zone for reflecting on H2O whist soaking up its reflecting light. 

Jupiter Artland is currently closed to visitors for the winter until May 2017. To check out more artworks and past works from Jupiter Artland have a look at their website. 

Amy Wilson 

Isle of Gigha - Upcoming Projects 2017

The Isle of Gigha is the most southerly of the Hebridean Islands and one of the most beautiful  in Scotland. Community owned, Gigha is 7 miles long by a mile+half wide and is home to a growing community of over 200 people. 

AWA is happy to announce a new partnership with Gigha Primary School. Up and coming in 2017 I will be supporting their path to becoming an Eco School and Rights Respecting School and contribute to their community outreach, which aims to place Education for Sustainable Development at the centre of their work. My work on Gigha will seek to connect their children and youth to communities living in other Island contexts around the world. I will be offering Human Rights Education and opportunities for the community to creatively investigate their environment and the current environment issues that affect their lives.

Can't wait! 

Amy Wilson

'Beyond Borders' - SOLAS 2016

This June I was delighted to be selected for Scotland's Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Programme at Solas Festival 2016.  

Solas Festival theme for this year was 'Beyond Borders' which looked to offer festival goers the chance to explore the concept of boundaries, from freedom of movement to the tangible and intangible boundaries that govern our world.

My programme for Solas 2016 was inspired by Ancient Canadian Trickster Tales. Spanning cultural divides, Trickster is one of the oldest figures in oral history. As a source of laughter, learning and renewal, Trickster tales celebrate the kind of adaptive and provocative thinking needed to enliven the physical and internal borders that govern our understanding of the world. Every society has its sense of in or out, right or wrong, sacred or profane, male or female, old or young, living or dead. As the figure standing at the crossroads, Trickster challenges the governing forces of borders old and new; crossing, drawing, erasing, and shifting the lines of the threshold to offer us new tools for living in a rapidly changing world.

Over the festival weekend Amy Wilson Arts presented a programme of creative encounters. Our Scavengers Shelter played host to a collection of Trickster Tales and in true Trickster fashion, we offered the opportunity for festival goers to learn new skills and explore their own 'beyond borders' stories through printmaking and sculpture sessions in our outdoor workshop. Our participants work was exhibited in the space, transforming our shelter over the festival weekend. 

Solas’s founding year was the first festival I had ever been involved in, it got me hooked. Since then I have created works, performed and run workshops at several arts festival’s including Begehungen Festival in Chemnitz, Germany. I love being outdoors, transforming spaces and offering creative encounters in unexpected places, Solas 2016 was no exception. 

Amy Wilson

 

 

Glasgow International 2016

Glasgow International is a world-renowned festival of contemporary art which transforms sites and creative venues across Glasgow every 2 years.

For GI 2016 I was lucky enough to get a back stage pass through my role as Assistant Duty Manager for GI's Kelvin Hall Venue. If you have ever visited Glasgow or are local you will know of Kelvin Hall. The red stone, Victorian style exhibition centre is a prominent landmark of Glasgow's West End skyline along with Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The ongoing construction is just one part of a constant reimagining of its ground which has evolved over time to meet the needs of Glasgow's people and visitors.  

In its current phase of renovation the Hall's front facade and derelict entrance ways played host to commissioned works by local installation artist Claire Barclay and Australian painter Helen Johnson. Over the festival period they were a must see highlight in GI's 2016 Directors Programme. 

'Bright Bodies' 

Claire Barclay's Exhibition 'Bright Bodies' was a direct response to the history of the building and its functional relationship to the bodies of Glasgow over time. Claire drew inspiration from the Hall's archives to create her industrial and machine made objects. Formal elements played on shapes collected from the image and film documentation of the Hall's role as a morgue, barrrage balloon factory, gym/sport venue and host to events such as the local circus and exhibitions of industrial power. Despite the manufactured quality the work was very sensual and bodily at times, her choice of materials evolving images through texture and smell. Full body memories calling up images of Glasgow's dock yards, gyms and the contents of circus tents. The sent of coal tar both lulled and attacked the senses, a fitting partner to the rapid noise and stillness of the construction site hidden from view by stain-glass and a thinly panelled wall. Claire's flags hung proudly outside the Hall, activating the building as exhibition venue once more. 

'Barron Fields'

Down stairs in the Kevin Hall's Atrium, Helen Johnson's exhibition of paintings, Barron Fields, dealt with the idea of history itself. Using the space to hang her massive raw canvas works, the Australian artist questioned how history is cemented in culture, read over time and can be reimagined. Every culture is made up of sign posts, both visual and physical, indicators that monitor the boundaries of what is in/out, foreign/common, sacred/profane, natural/unnatural. Johnson's work offered a space where the signs of the past and those of contemporary life are in constant collision, inviting playful debate amongst the serious contemplation of Australia's past/contemporary cultural conflicts. 

The layering of colour and textures, range of techniques, use of human size forms and pattern making, was a feast for the eyes as well as the mind. The paintings, free of their frames, morphed shape with body and room temperature, not static in a room of decay, but like history itself, shifting in a constant state of change from body to body.  

Kevin Hall will be launching as a new sporting and entertainment venue this Autumn 2016 and early 2017. Glasgow International will be back in 2018 with a new program of contemporary art. In the mean time you can follow GI via their website and Instagram for news on exhibitions, performances and speaking events taking place throughout 2016/17. You can also purchase editions from GI 2016, work by both Claire Barclay and Helen Johnson are included in their fab range of prints and merch. 

 

Love from Glasgow, 

 

Amy Wilson 

 

CHARITY EVENT

Art4UScoland have a really great range of local arts classes and I was delighted to be invited to help fundraise for their chosen charity Rainbow Valley this April. 

Almost everyone is affected by cancer in one way or another and Rainbow Valley looks to support "people of all ages living with and affected by cancer, including family and friends." The exhibition was the first chance for me to see the work of Art4U's students and I was super impressed with the range of works on show. This amazing drawing 'Rainforest' above was my pick and buy of the weekend, created by Campbell Harrison one of Art4U's young students and is now proudly displayed in my home. 

Its not too late to support the work of Rainbow Valley, have a look at their website to see what you can do to give a hand.  

Amy Wilson 


My Pretty Lover

Trailer for My Pretty Lover by Irina Iordache. Check it out with some behind the scenes pics from my Romania Trip this March. 

NVA

This March I was delighted to join Team Hinterland for NVA's latest project which transformed Scotland's great modernist ruin, St Peter's Seminary, through new sound and light over a period of 10 nights (18-27th March 2016). 

Hinterland and NVA's larger legacy/heritage project launched Scotland's Festival of Architecture 2016 and has been dubbed a triumph amongst Scotland's Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design calendar. Known for their light and sounds installations, NVA combine technology, public site, performance and participation to produce increasingly innovative artworks in amongst both urban and rural landscapes. Touring works Speed of Light and Ghost Peloton exemplify this approach, their portfolio of premiered works contributing to major cultural and sporting events in the UK such as the Edinburgh International Festival, London Cultural Olympiad and the Tour de France departure events. 

Such a portfolio has lead to Hinterland and a vision for the part restoration of St Peter's Seminary. A manifesto for 'A Future Reclaimed' seeks to oversee the emergence of a new venue for public art, performance, learning and debate. Here is a bit from NVA about St Peter's and their plans: 

"Abandoned since the late 1980s, every structure within the site, from medieval to modern, has been reduced to ruins. Brutal, beautiful, romantic, ravaged, spiritual, shocking – the site provokes many reactions. Designed by Glasgow architects Andy MacMillan and Isi Metzstein of the renowned Gillespie, Kidd and Coia architectural practice for the Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow, St Peter’s Seminary was completed and consecrated in 1966. Almost 50 years on from the day it opened we are witnessing the first positive steps towards a new purpose with hazardous materials and vault stabilisation now completed and Hinterland, the first event on site, attracting a phenomenal level of profile and support for the plans" - NVA

Sitting amongst other volunteers in the Cardross Gold Club, pre Hinterland, I was really moved to hear NVA's Creative Director Angus Farquhar talk about the journey they had gone through and the future they were seeking to build. Angus declared that after his initial visits, the site and history called the team towards a lifetime commitment. After visiting the site pre show it was easy to see what captivated him. St Peter's looms from the forest bare of bone and brutal of form. Its skeletal vaults and floating stare cases, sweeping corridors, towers, outcrops, and halls resonate with the sounds of the forest that overtakes by day and the ghosts of ritual scripts and whispered prayers by night. 

Hinterland saw light stick wielding visitors head out into the dark forest. A tunnel of woven branches and sculpted trees was activated by the sounds of the late night wood and figures passing through the underbrush. St Peter's massive form is late to emerge. A steady trek reveals its stark forms in little more than a blink. Outer worldly in the dark, yet resolutely landed amongst the rugged terrain, it invites further exploration despite the edge of danger and ruin. It is a towering maze of sculptured concrete, the vestiges of decades worth of elicit visits recorded through time by thousands of graffitied marks in ever room, nook and cranny. 

The tour path of the site is transformed though a series of light installations/projections, performances and soundscapes. Highlights included choral work by composer Rory Boyle, recorded and performed by the St Salvator's Chapel Choir of the University of St Andrews. Amongst the main chapel space, the high vaults sit over head and reflect in a converged pool of stagnant water below. Above its surface, a industrial size thurible swings. The synchronised guidance of objects and music are overseen by a pair of dark figures dressed in welders garb. Sparks fly in the final performance as they weld out forms amongst the projections. To have a look at photos and vids of Hinterland and to view updates about the launch of their documentary film visit the Hinterland website.

Photography by Alasdair Smith

 

As a volunteer it was eye opening and inspiring to see what such a small yet talented team, completely dedicated to public art, are able to achieve. It was an amazing experience to be apart of and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Since the Hinterland Launch, NVA have secured their £4.2 Million funding for the restoration of St Peter's and has won numerous accolades amongst the press and Scotland's cultural bodies including The Judges Choice Award at this years Cultural Awards.  

To find out more about NVA and to keep up to date with news about how you can visit and get involved with the Hinterland Project in 2017 have a look at their website. 

Amy Wilson