During the late Summer/early Autumn of 2020, artists Alix Rothnie and Sarah Calmus took up residence in North Uist to engage local community groups in a series of outdoor workshops at the shorelines of Baleshare beach in August 2020. Through sensory drawing, mindful writing and playful shoreside games, these workshops sought to invite moments of deeper contemplation of the local shorelines, and generate discussion around their future, in the face of climate emergency.
Shorelines are a threshold and marine environment in flux – alternating as they are between immersion and emersion, calm and storm – and a site where the vulnerability to climate emergency is most felt. In North Uist, sea level rise, storm surges, marine overtopping, inland flooding and coastal erosion are of present and future concern.
The project culminates in a 2 channel video installation created by Alix Rothnie, filmed on explorations of these intertidal zones and watery networks across North Uist and Berneray, tracing the ecological narratives, histories, processes and wild sounds of this habitat, and its close connection to human interaction. The film features archive Super8 film shot by Gaelic language educator and naturalist Annie (Chnoc na Luib) MacDonald in the 1970’s, a poem by local poet Pauline Prior-Pitt created during the workshops and extracts of conversation with three women on the island.
With thanks to
Catriona Black, Johanne Ferguson, Mary Harman, Annie MacDonald, Gina MacDonald, Andy Mackinnon, Màiri Morrison, Kirsty O’Connor, Loriana Pauli, Pauline Prior-Pitt, Cally Yeatman
Both Alix Rothnie and Sarah Calmus would also like to thank all those who participated in the workshops, shared their thoughts and took the time to speak with us.
The project was funded by SNH as part of Plunge In! Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.