Bio

My art practice is an enquiry into the Scottish landscape, connecting specific aspects of archaeological and industrial knowledge by looking at the varied and forgotten legacies, tales and manipulations of the environment. It deconstructs conventional images of the Scottish landscape, often romanticised as wild, untouched and separate from modernity and devoid of human influence, by eroding the binary categorisation of how we understand nature and technology.

Existing in-between fact and fiction, ancient and modern, my practice is speculative creating a permeable membrane that allows for slippage in and out of time periods by examining the anthroposphere (the part of the environment made or modified by humans). I explore these overlapping relations using methods associated with psycho-geography, such as ‘drifting’ and ‘playfulness’, by embedding myself within the landscape to connect with unseen and intangible temporalities and histories. These findings are expressed through multi-media sound that uses a mixture of archaeoacoustics, acoustic ecology, archival sound, and installations in specific landscapes. I extract materials that exist within the immediate landscape, experimenting with layers of time by referencing artifacts found, structures that exist and those yet to be created using prefabricated industrial and scrap materials. The false and complex dichotomy of nature and technology that informs my research is reflected in my choice of materials that sit on the cusp, opposing and mirroring each other, blurring the lines between organic and synthesised, femme and industrial, escaping categorisation and occupying realms of speculation.

a side view of the table in this shot the steel reflects some of the wild flowers and grass as the sun hits against it. there is also a speaker in this picture that is placed beside the steel to create an acoustic experience
Landscapes of infrastructure

Landscapes of infrastructure is a touring installation that aims to facilitate new ways of interacting with archives and site histories. Using collected archival materials, personal photography, sound and conversation, this work questions land use and romantic perceptions of the Scottish Highlands. It highlights the military and industrial structures that have been present in these spaces across time periods, allowing the viewer to question the formation of romantic ideals and how land is used.

The work is designed to travel to locations across Scotland but has been placed in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park at the Glen Finglas visitor centre during the first leg of its travels. This site was chosen specifically because it challenges the false dichotomy between nature and industry in the Scottish landscape. Situated on the Great Trossachs Art and Literature Trail, the site has paths leading to a viewpoint popularised by John Ruskin that helped establish romantic imagery of the Trossachs but is also nearby to the Glen Finglas dam and hydroelectric scheme.

Situated within the landscape, in contrast to traditional archival and discussion spaces, this work allows the viewer to directly connect themes running through the displayed archival materials to the landscape and interpret them within the sites they represent.

The table features an inbuilt acoustic deflector into which live sound of electromagnetic waves is played. This sonic exploration highlights inaudible site-specific soundscapes allowing the listener to question what else is unobserved within cultural constructions of the Highlands.

A collection of archival sound in order played:

1946: ‘Bonnie Strathyre’ vocals by Robert Wilson, originally written by Harold Boulton who first became interested in Scottish folk songs during his studies at Oxford.

1962: A feature from the Tonight show on BBC, Fyfe Robertson interviewing locals in Gruinard Bay.

1973: ‘Fire Leap’ from The Wicker Man.

2021: Recording of electromagnetic waves from Neilston wind farm mixed with field recording of man-made reservoirs.

1980s: 'I work at Dounreay' from Dounreay TV, produced by the UK Atomic Energy Authority to recruit young people to Dounreay. 

1993: ‘Trucking with Trident’ segment from Free For All, a Channel 4 documentary about Trident nuclear warhead convoys.

1961: ‘Glasga Eskimos’ from Ding Dong Dollar: Anti-Polaris and Scottish Republican Songs documenting the arrival of Polaris submarines on the Firth of Clyde when the US Navy captain described protestors as ‘goddam Eskimos’.  

2021: Recording of electromagnetic waves in Arrochar.

1991: ‘Twa recruitin sergeants’ vocals by The McCalmans.

Please email to hear full version. 

Within the landscape sits obsolete technology, layers of buried data.

Pastoral sounds of the Scottish landscape recorded in glens, corries and mountains are intersected with recordings of these sites created through telephone pick up mics that capture electromagnetic waves. This juxtaposition of sounds disrupts traditional romantic constructs of these spaces by making the inaudible soundscape audible. 

These sounds were recorded in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park where there is a contemporary electro nervous system of train lines, military complexes, hydroelectric power stations and telephone lines.

These sounds have not been manipulated through the construction of a melody, although there is a natural rhythm of the passage of time, a metronome of weather, clouds passing by the cycle of the sun.

To access higher quality audio please email.

Bagging

Bagging interrogates how highly synthesised military and hiking materials have become common place within the Highlands, embedding themselves within environments but going unnoticed in romantic readings of the landscape. The work also speaks to often overlooked connections between military culture and mountaineering, with its masculinist and imperialist rhetoric of ‘conquering’ summits and ‘bagging’ Munros.

Placed within the landscape, these sculptures offer viewers (passing hikers and tourists) a sense of familiarity and allow them to be drawn into the work as they are reminiscent of sleeping bags, emergency blankets and tents. At the same time, they also reflect military and industrial structures in the Scottish landscape, such as parachutes and windsocks, to encourage viewers to reconsider conventional perceptions of the environments they are engaging with.

The soft-shelled sculptures are speculative and are designed to be read differently by each passing viewer, as deformed tents abandoned to the elements, obstructive obstacles erected by landowners or odd military experiments. The use of colourful and soft Taffeta fabric aims to playfully mirror synthetic hiking materials and challenge associations between mountaineering and masculinity and the gendered geographies that script mountain environments as what the critic Ann Colley calls ‘the heroic domain of a brotherhood of men, replete with male energy’.

Digital Travels

Digital Travels explores how we traverse the digital sphere and engage with physical sites on the internet, creating new and disjointed spatial understandings in the process. This exhibition explores concepts of space, distance and time within the internet and landscape by responding to Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s The Railway Journey: The Industrialisation of Time and Space (1977; English translation 1986), which discusses the way locomotion transformed Victorian perceptual experience.

Paralleling the way railways distorted nineteenth century perceptions of space, time and distance, the internet distorts the spatiality of the traversed environment. When rambling across the internet there is no sense of distance travelled and understandings of space and time are blurred, floating in our imagination. The navigation of place online disconnects the internet user from the physical landscape and constructions of physical sites are dictated by browser histories, cookies and algorithms, much in the same way early rail passengers perceived the travelled environment to be dissolved by speed.

Digital Travels suggests that just as rail travel altered Victorian perceptual experience, the internet distorts and disrupts contemporary experiences of the space-time continuum by creating multidimensional temporalities and spatialities.  When travelling through the internet we are no longer embedded within the physical landscape and journeys are not dictated by terrain, distance or time. Instead, we wander through digital terrains, creating ambiguous and mutable spatial identities for sites as miles can be skipped, time compressed and histories rearranged.