A hand drawn mapping exercise prepared to allow for ease and informed movement through the festivals extensive landscape territory in southern Scotland centred at Morton Castle. Maps using water as an aid to route finding.
" In this Mapping exercise, I focused on the “desire lines” that might be followed naturally by animals and humans. Desire lines delineated by increasing and decreasing amounts of water running its course and the geological structure underlying those.. I studied old maps and Ordnance Survey data and abstracted the water courses via conversations with Artists - Matt Baker + Andreas Templin + Jan Hogarth.
We then put the water courses through an imagining and graphical process. Some of them were missing or interrupted by man, however their course or sense was still there.
The routes of the water courses were then followed and considered on foot by participants …at EAFS - Off grid - 2015
EAFS = Environmental Arts Festival Scotland
Notes by A McAvoy
I was very fortunate to be given the task of mapping this bi - annual festival by organisers Matt Baker and Jan Hogarth
The job was to orientate people in Landscape and to facilitate ease of movement. After some independent thought and consideration if the scale of the landscape for EAFS 2015 I selected water and the courses of it as a visibly significant constant....mostly.
Acting as Guerilla Cartographer I spent 2 inspiring days with the festival organisers in the process of planning EAFS 2015 and contributed thoughts on practicalities. It was only later when the Festival looked momentarily fragile that I was asked to contribute the Mapping. Only being familiar with the core area at Morton castle, I undertook the process of interpreting a much larger geographic area via an abstract drawing board study. The territory was huge and there was no time to walk it myself. Having met the organisers and knowing them well I knew they would screen the maps for practicalities. Matt knew the festival territory intimately and was quick to highlight where confusion might arise from the mapping.
From the old maps provided and the Ordnance available I could trace the water courses. To begin the abstraction process that produced the Graphic, I sat up through 2 consecutive nights drawing, scanned the maps in the morning and sent them to Matt to make notes on. Time was of the essence and we repeated that exercise a number of times in quick succession over until they were ready.
Before publishing, volunteers were asked to try them out and changes were made based on their experience of walking the routes.
I had picked up where Matt Left off in ancient Govan, when he completed the project "Nothing About Us Without Us Is For Us" with artist Tara Beall. Matt whilst in Govan had mapped my residential Landscape and it seemed right that I reciprocate.
Matt as well as being an artist is a cartographer himself. I was really keen to work with him again and had followed carefully how the format for this new experimental Arts festival was shaping up.
I had known Jan Hogarth for a much long time.
Myself and Jan were experimenting with Environmental Art and Architecture in the late 1980s when Jan was at Grays School of Art and I was at the neighboring purpose built Scott Sutherland School of Architecture in Aberdeen. Across a designed landscape with a "Monkey Puzzle" tree at its center we trotted, to provide perspective on each others work. Those early conversations encouraged experimentation and life long engagement with the idea that our practices should be informed by and respectful of ...our precious environment. ..
Thinking retrospectively I guess we both enjoyed the workshop nature of the training at Garthdee before the business school invaded to shift the narrative. We were both able to place objects out in the campus landscape that served to question the effects of weather nature and material on creative process.
20 years later the same thing was happening at EAFS !
Jan was the first person that I knew that behaved as an Environmental Artist , someone who would - in a Joan Eardley manner, place herself outdoors in the elements and engage. - Its only natural that she now manages Wide Open and EAFS.
Jan paid a great complement to me by saying at Morton Castle during EAFS this year - to her co organisers - "This is Andy he was the first person I knew that made the links between architecture and environment ....and before environmental architecture was even thought of as necessary "
EAFS is exemplary and seeks to find new narrative for emerging culture and to nudge new agendas about how we relate more sustainably to the world around us. = EAFS 2015 was "Off Grid" !
Being involved in the groundbreaking border land process of EAFS felt like being back in the studios of Grays and Scott's in the days when you were free to experiment without health and safety driven agendas dominating the scene. When you could build a human sized birds nest as I did - high up in a tree perched over the Dee and spend the night in it..... Just to gain some nature sense.
It was the greatest honor to be asked to Join the EAFS team in 2015 and be asked to map the event . www.environmentalartfestivalscotland.com
This bi annual festival will do more to sponsor fresh thinking and engagement with the environment than we can possibly deal with in our day to day practices ... Just go .
The practice had been asked to produce a series of Maps that would allow people to navigate the " Lands of EAFS " and the exercise was successful. No one was lost or hurt.
We would like to extend great thanks to the organisers - Matt, Baker Jan Hogarth , Robbie Coleman , Katie Anderson, and everyone else who pulled EAFS 2015 out of a hat ....with no budget. Andreas Templin provided a valid and super sharp critical eye on the lead up to the event. His critical eye and Berlin - wit, helped the mapping to be rigorous in its abstraction.
Thank you to Rita Pacheco for brightening the maps up, so that they were super clear + less abstract ... in the EAFS paper.
Matt Baker as well as being an amazing and principled Artist - www.mattbaker.org.uk is instrumental in "The Stove" in Dumfries. - www.thestove.org ......a bottom up, exemplary and focused example of collective practice.
Whilst presently out in the Environment monitoring some Unicorn activity, Jan is developing another Artist led environmental art project called - " Quests and retreats" . You can follow this at - https://janhogarth.wordpress.com Jan also runs the Arts promotion organisation - www.wide-open.net
The Mapping in a developed form is to be contributed to a Guerrilla Cartography Atlas - " The Water Atlas " being published in water strapped California later in 2016. - Details to be added soon. Thanks to Chris Freemantle for the suggestion to submit. Do follow ecoartscotland - for Chris's window on the creative world, as ever he drove EAFS on in his way.
Due to the festival and the positivity it provided - The practice will be working with film maker John Wallace and Soil Scientist Professor Pete Smith in 2016 on their project - " The Same Hillside " which will provide a tantalising new aspect on 3 Scottish rivers.
Watch this space !
EAFS is what happens when no money changes hands and creativity is grown from the bottom up and not decided on by ...top down process.
Map - Coloured for the EAFS - "Exciting Times" - Paper by