Our built environment is in a constant state of change. From creation to destruction, architecture holds the memory of a society’s constant interaction with its surroundings, standing as monuments for social, economic and political aspects of the community to which it belongs. My past practice has focused on the value of the ruin and the landscape it finds itself in; the ideals it promotes, the aesthetics of decay and the reclamation of space by both culture and nature. The interrogation of the past evolves into the recognition of a previous society, and the pseudo-monuments they leave behind, immediately promoting the idea that these contemporary follies exist in a metaphysical plane. What comes next after these ruins have re-assimilated and no longer exist in a state of change?
This narrative of the ruin stemmed from my own upbringing in Scotland. With family ties to the Outer Hebrides, where language, culture and lifestyle is vastly diverse to the one I knew on the mainland. My knowledge grew of this landscape, much like it did for the past generations, through stories passed down from generation to generation. The physical landscape spoke for itself, and allowed me to interrogate building typology and context through the remnants of crofts and crofted lands. This can also be seen in the context of Scotland as a whole. A similar social typology can be seen on the mainland as in the Outer Hebrides. Scotland was mostly Post-Industrial by the time I was born, so the exploration of its heritage was fable like.
Ruins of past allow me to mentally articulate previous societies and ways of living and soon they be my only connection to my heritage. Exploring these structures, creating work from them and holding a romanticised image of them, is an attempt to unlock the secrets of it and the past. "We follow traces of memory and discover that memory itself is in a state of continuous decay, that we are our own ruins." (F.Saunders, 2014). Through my practice I was able to transfer my thought process surrounding ruins to the natural landscape.
These landscapes are in a constant state of change. The process of re-assimilation holds the core ideal of existence being in a constant state of balance. With the ruin, it is both dead and alive. They are a static monument to the past but also a potential of the future. As equal to the built environment and the natural one. They are a marker of equilibrium in our world. Our only constant in life is that nothing is constant. At this point we have a choice: do we allow it to fall into a further state of decay, finally succumbing and re-assimilating with nature or do we resurrect the ruin into our new world?
The Landscape Artist graduated from the Glasgow School of Art with Honours in Fine Art: Painting and Printmaking in 2015.