Is there a critic in the house? My repost from the Commonty

by Katie Anderson

Here’s a first; thought I’d repost my commonty blog on here and attempt to merge my two blogging styles and personas somewhat more
It’s been a bit quiet on the commonty this weekend – largely because everyone was outside – absorbed by the environmental arts festival, and so I thought on offering up some reflections on a long weekend saturated with amazing art, discussions, explorations, journeys (both literal and metaphorical perhaps?!) and discoveries.


We would welcome reviews etc on the things you may have witnessed over the course of the last four days – what were your highlights (both artistic and otherwise)? – but in the meantime I would like to offer up a few initial reflections of my own – and others – gathered along the way.

Cinema Sark – John Wallace and Prof. Pete Smith – image nabbed from Twitter @LizzieDinnie



‘ How does place archive memory, how does memory archive place?’ Robert MacFarlane as quoted by David Borthwick in a shed in Cairnsmore. (As part of some of the great discussions held over the festival)


About looking. Art in the environment as a catalyst for looking at the environment (especially when you can’t find the art, but can find lots of beautiful land/scape) as suggested by Will Levi Marshall whilst on top of the wrong hill on Sunday. (It was a fantastic wrong hill though)


‘The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.’ RD Laing as quoted by Mike Bonaventura – on the scope and potential of environmental art discussed in the Robert Burns Centre last night.

James Winnett’s Fountain – as photographed by festival photographer Colin Hattersley



In some ways, part of the journey to these works became an extension of the work itself. The more out-of-the-way sites had a sense of pilgrimage.


There was a great sense of a collective sharing of the festival experience. I left all the discussions with more questions. There is a lot more to be understood. 


Perhaps we may not be able to change the whole world – but possibly out little impacts on a small scale – our ‘operating in the cracks between over-government’ still give us the potential for change (following on the climate change conversations in Stormont Hall).


As a participating artist – the positivity, the keen and the curious nature of folk and the welcoing attitude of festival organisers, contributors, audience members, visitors and the community/inhabitants was truly inspiring.


D&G has not just the potential but the capability to produce a festival on a par with the more art central regions – ‘be part of something amazing’ – so contributions are invited ‘if we don’t send messages, they won’t be recieved’ (thanks for that one Ted Leeming) and apologies for anyone mis-quoted or incorrectly paraphrased – it’s been a long few days!


Queues outside a phonebox – who’d have thought? Thanks to everyone who visited Clarencefield this weekend






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