Scarp

2018

plastic barrels, driftwood, stones, bone, four-channel audio composition (x2), glowing rope

Mountains Underwater: Scarp aims to put the issue of marine pollution in the spotlight by focusing attention on the plastic debris found on Mol Mor, a large beach on the Isle of Scarp in the Outer Hebrides. The beach is littered with plastic and other materials which have been washed ashore by the powerful Atlantic surges over the years, and the inaccessibility of the beach makes the layers of boots, bins, ropes, and buoys a difficult problem to deal with. Sadly, this is not a unique case of drifting ocean pollution hitting dry land. Coastal communities world-wide are facing the same challenges, and it is a blatant sign that the plastic problem growing every day in our oceans is one that will not be improved unless there are some huge cultural shifts in how we handle waste material, and of course systemic changes that make industrial practices truly sustainable.

Not only does this work tell a story of pollution on a remote Scottish beach, but also considers how a small island can evolve in its role – first as a place of settlement for a fishing and crofting community and then as a landscape which, in its precious remoteness, is the antithesis to steadily increasing urban environments, and yet, is extremely telling about the current state of the world.

At the Tent gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland, the exhibition also featured a 4.1 soundscape piece composed of field recordings made while on the isle of Scarp. An outline of the isle appears as listener’s eyes adjust to the darkened room.

This work is the second of the series Mountains Underwater.

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