Blàthan Briste | Broken Flowers

7 August – 28 October, Preview Saturday 5 August 7pm
Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre

Blàthan Briste | Broken Flowers is a collaborative exhibition by Alec Finlay and Hannah Imlach exploring energy independence, localism, and technology, from the Neolithic quernstones (hand-mills) of the islands, to the MoD rocket range on Uist and St Kilda, and the renewable energy arrays of the future.

Preview – Saturday 5 August 7pm including Work Songs, Do They Work? talk with Dr. John Purser and singer Linda Macleod and special screening of Carrier Strike by Ian Hamilton Finlay & John Purser.


Monday 7 August 7pm. Free
Artists in Conversation with Alec Finlay + Hannah Imlach

Tuesday 8 August 7pm. Free
Ecopoetics Reading with Lila Matsumoto + Alec Finlay

Wednesday 9 August 9am – 5pm. 
Monachs Boat Trip on the Lady Anne. A day of performative installation and site-specific readings with the artists.
£85. Lunch included. Advance booking essential. call 01870 603970.

Thursday 10 August 7pm. Free (booking required)
Ecopoetics Workshop with Lila Matsumoto.

What special knowledge can poetry give us about our environment? In this workshop, we will explore ways of sensing and describing our world through touch, smell, sight, and sound.


Alec Finlay has created a new sequence of poems and images, illustrated by Hanna Tuulikki, surveying Gaelic culture, the environment, and technology. Since 2005 Finlay has specialised in the field of renewable energy and, recently, considered the relationship between island cultures, languages, – Norse, Gaelic and Scots – and place-names as prophetic markers of tides and marine energy technologies. Blàthan Briste | Broken Flowers is an imaginative response to the confiscation of quernstones in the Hebrides – an event that offers a critical perspective on power, community benefit, and more recent technologies.

Hannah Imlach represents the fluid interplay between technological and natural forms in her sculptural artworks. Imlach has designed a new sculpture that is derived from the imaginative relationship between the quernstone and marine energy devices. This new kinetic work will be taken to the Monach Islands during the opening week of the exhibition where it will be assembled close to the site of an ancient quernstone quarry and temporarily installed in the shallow waters to turn gently with the incoming and outgoing tide. She will also present an earlier work, Nautilus Turbine (2016), made in response to Eigg’s community energy network.

In this poetic, playful, and provocative exhibition mimetic forms characterise the relationship between localism and technology. The project asks whether devices belong, are beneficial, or extractive? Key to the exhibition is a new essay by Dr. Fraser MacDonald that discusses Erskine Beveridge in relation to the theme of island technologies. The installation also features a collaboration between Finlay and the renowned field recording artist Chris Watson on the myth of The Princess Forest. Imlach will also show a sound work, Aeolian Survey, created in collaboration with Glasgow-based composer Thomas Butler, a poetic exploration of the production and consumption of wind power.

Lila Matsumoto’s publications include Soft Troika (If a Leaf Falls Press) and Allegories from my Kitchen (Sad Press). Lila’s poetry and criticism have been published in a variety of journals and anthologies including Jacket2, Tripwire, Zarf, and Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry. She has performed at places such as SoundEye Festival and Little Sparta garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay. Lila teaches creative writing at the University of Nottingham, where she she convenes the Nottingham Poetry Series:


 The ecopoetics workshop will explore Chorographia – a ‘description of the country’, from the Ancient Greek ‘choros’, country, and ‘grapho’, to write.  Importantly, chorographia isn’t limited to the textual, and includes visual, aural, olfactory expression. In this workshop, we will explore how poetry, as a special form of chorographia, gives us knowledge about our physical and cultural environment.

Blàthan Briste | Broken Flowers has been created in collaboration with Lila Matsumoto, Hanna Tuulikki, Heather Deedman, Chris Watson, Thomas Butler, Maoilios Caimbeil, and Dr. Fraser MacDonald.