Edge Effects: Glasgow

Images: Ross Fraser McLean/StudioRoRo

In July 2017 Scottish Sculpture Workshop presented Edge Effects Glasgow; a programme of workshops, walks, film and performance that explored the complex co-dependencies between ecological, social, economic, and political phenomena.

Edge Effects mapped out artistic processes developed in response to seven international residency sites across Europe through Frontiers in Retreat and brought them together with wider artists practices to ask: What multiple forms of knowledge, discourse, and models of action would construct a viable future for humans and other forms of life? What kinds of boundaries should be dismantled, so that change in the direction of an ecologically sustainable future could be possible?

We explored these questions through artist led activities at the CCA and across the city in offsite locations. At the Arlington Baths Club artists Mari Keski-Korsu and Maaria Alén offered one to one sauna whisking treatments in Beat To The Balance. From the Pearce Institute and following the flow of the Clyde, sonic artists Ximena Alarcon and Brett Bloom guided a two-day intensive Deep Listening workshop that was seeking out possibilities for a post fossil fuel Scotland.

Evening performances included new work by Áine O’Dwyer, presented in collaboration with Counterflows, and Charismatic Megafauna appeared in Scotland for the first time. At CCA, there were newly-commissioned film work by artists Carl Giffney, Nabb + Teeri and Mirko Nikolić, and the Edge Effects library hosted talks and workshops around empathy and activism, Deep Mapping and interspecies communication. Newly commissioned publications by Simon Yuill, Nuno Sacramento and The Centre for Alterity Studies were also launched. Interventions across the city included sonic mediation at bus stops by Brett Bloom and community crafted shortbread by Sylvia Grace Borda and the Lumsden Community bakers at the Project Cafe.

SSW Edge Effects artists and contributors were: Ximena Alarcon, Brett Bloom, Sylvia Grace Borda, Mele Broomes, Charismatic Megafauna, Taru Elfving, Fernando Garcia-Dory (INLAND) & Alex Wilde (Open Jar Collective), Carl Giffney, Mari Keski-Korsu & Maaria Alén, Maarit Laihonen & Petri Ruikka, Janne Nabb & Maria Teeri, Mirko Nikolić, Áine O’Dwyer, Nuno Sacramento, Richard Skelton and Simon Yuill.


Thu 27 July 2017

Beat to the Balance, Mari Keski-Korsu & Maaria Alén
Thurs 27 + Fri 28 July at Arlington Baths Club, Glasgow
Artists Mari Keski-Korsu and Maaria Alén facilitated a private sauna session which supported participants to nurture and build their capacities for empathetic communication with other species and entities within our wider ecosystem. Through the ritualistic, whisking practice the interdependence between tree communities and humans can be made more tangible, heightened by the sauna space. The trees present in the sauna were Birch, Oak, Maple, Rowan and Juniper.

Breakdown Break Down – Two day workshop in Deep Listening with Brett Bloom and Ximena Alarcon
Thurs 27 + Fri 28 July at The Pearce Institute and sites across Glasgow City
This intensive Deep Listening workshop invited participants to imagine and immerse themselves in a post fossil fuel Scotland. Over two days the group undertook a range of sonic meditations, body energy excercises and dream work, in order to awaken unexpected connections between creatures, the environment and themselves. 

Áine O’Dwyer presented in collaboration with Counterflows
Áine O’Dwyer’s role lies somewhere between vocalist, musician, improviser, composer, performer, listener, sonic stalker and audience member. Her work celebrates her interests in found and forgotten spaces, chance choreographies, acoustic phenomena, the act of listening and the search for alternative scorings through a combined performativity of instruments, drawings, space, time, memory and the body.

Fri 28 July 2017

Lumsden Biscuit – Sylvia Grace Borda & Lumsden community bakers
Fri 28 + Sat 29 July at The Project Cafe
The Project Cafe was distributing Lumsden Biscuits when you bought a tea or coffee from them. Commissioned by SSW the biscuits are made by Lumsden community bakers, and proceeds from the commission go back into the village. 

Deep Maps / Geographies from Below – Nuno Sacramento
What do maps tell us? And what do maps conceal? Going beyond the diagrammatic depiction of a particular geography (geo=earth, graphy=description), Deep Maps open up a space of intense topographic exploration.
The workshop started by looking at historical and current maps of Glasgow and ask: What do they tell us about this place?
This led onto speculation about possible events and apocryphal stories that might have taken place there, about geological time, land ownership and use, insurance plans and fire risk, infrastructure and energy, sustainability and ultimately about our role as citizens in imagining and shaping the city. These conversations were followed by a walk, thinking and reflecting time and further discussion.

FiR Green Tease – Creative Carbon Scotland
This afternoon of talks and discussion, was facilitated by Creative Carbon Scotland‘s Director, Ben Twist, as part of their Green Tease event series. For this event SSW brought together three important voices in the Frontiers In Retreat project to provide insights into, and reflections on, the five year project.
Curator Taru Elfving discussed how planetary ecological transformations become apparent and negotiable on remote sites at the edges of Europe and what it might mean to retreat into the frontiers amidst the present global urgencies. Artist Carl Giffney presented an introduction to his feature length documentary – I really don’t feel them. And sonic artist and researcher Ximena Alarcon guided a collective Deep Listening exercise that explored interstitial spaces, such as dreams and the in-between space in the context of migration.

Sat 29 July 2017

Holding Space with Trees Workshop – Mari Keski-Korsu
Holding Space with Trees acted as an introduction to inter-species forest communication. During the workshop the group looked for different kinds of tree species that called for them and learned what kind of effects these trees have on people. The group used the workshop to try to understand ecosystems around them not as a resource but as equal communities interdependent of each other. The workshop also included a tree leaf bathing ritual.

Edge Effects Regenerative Notes Interfaces for Empathy
Could empathy be one of the key elements in reconnecting us with our ecosystem and ourselves? After all, empathy is the element that has enabled humans to work together and collaborate in order to flourish as species. Mari Keski-Korsu, Maarit Laihonen and Petri Ruikka are interested in extending reflections towards asking how to create deeper connections in the crisis of humanity and how to develop skills for existence in post-fossil life. Mari, Maarit and Petri are collectively searching for methods for empathetic action and activism.
How can discussion be empathetic, what would that enable, and what does that mean in terms of collective intelligence? Through this discussion Mari, Maarit and Petri gave some foundations as well as general directions for an empathetic discussion experiment, the format was open for ongoing development during the session.
This event was in collaboration with Pixelache and funded by Kone Foundation.

Edge Effects On a Proletarian Soil – Simon Yuill, Emma Balkind and Nuno Sacramento
Written in the style of a walker’s guide following routes to two destinations on the outskirts of Lumsden, Simon Yuill’s essays explore and question the relations between politics and nature through sources ranging from Aristotle’s Athenian Constitution to Robert Kirk’s Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies and drawing on the work of Donna Haraway, Sarah Jacquette Ray and Alexander Reid Ross.
Natural histories are political writings in which nature defines the limits and possibilities of the political. Nature is interrogated in order to understand what the political might ‘properly’ be, structuring the limits and possibilities of power, whilst our understanding of the limits and possibilities of nature are themselves constrained by the politics we already have or lie within their existing desires.

Edge Effects Movement Workshop with Mele Broomes
This workshop was an exploration of body opening whilst building confidence to express and experience ones movement potential. The group focussed on alignment, core stability, enabling physical understanding and movement consciousness whilst also reflecting on social colonial narratives.
Participants were not required to have any dance or movement experience. Everyone was welcomed to participate in whichever way felt comfortable for them.

Edge Effects Charismatic Megafauna
For their group Scottish debut, Charismatic Megafauna performed a gig with projections, costumes, drums and bodies. Prompted by Scottish Sculpture Workshop, the group read the Xenofeminist Manifesto in preparation for this performance and openly struggled with it. Live.
Charismatic Megafauna is a three-piece, feminist, party punk band born from a need to rage and dance. They use drums, synth drums, drum pads and voices in their performances and use the breakdown of words and the buildup of rhythms to make worlds. 

Sun 30 July 2017

Tides and Tributaries – Fernando Garcia-Dory and Alex Wilde
Alex Wilde from Open Jar Collective and Fernando Garcia-Dory facilitated a walk and talk shaped by the flowing of water through the city. Along the walk Alex and Fernando shared their methods and approaches to facilitating exchange in the projects INLAND and Soil City. The conversation was stimulated and diverted by reflections on places and people visited along the route. The walk took in a number of sites that provoked thought about borders, edges, commons and knowledge exchange.

Edge Effects Centre for Alterity Studies Richard Skelton
Centre for Alterity Studies (CFAS) was convened by Richard Skelton during his Frontiers in Retreat residencies at Skaftfell, east Iceland, as a resource for an international network of artists and researchers with interests in non-human otherness, encompassing animal, plant and mineral alterity.
For Edge Effects, Richard Skelton launched the first volume of the journal Alterity, CFAS‘s key publication. The journal intends to document the variety of work and discourse being generated in this burgeoning field.
The founding document of CFAS is the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Critically Endangered Species, which Skelton describes as ‘a profoundly moving evocation of the near-lost; a poem of impossible fragility; and yet overwhelming in its sheer scale, and alienating in its use of specialist language. The mind recoils from its monolithicnature.’

FiR Artist Film Programme Carl Giffney, Janne Nabb & Maria Teeri, Mirko Nikolić
Edge Effects presented a selection of artist films that were produced at various sites across Europe during Frontiers in Retreat.

Thinking of Invertebrates – Janne Nabb & Maria Teeri (3D animation, 30 min)
An tSeirbia (They knew them) – Carl Giffney (video, 17 min )
we ❤ copper & copper ❤ us vol. 3: mineralizacija – Mirko Nikolić (video, 24 mins)


Edge Effects marks the conclusion of the five year Frontier in Retreat programme and is presented through a series of eight satellite exhibitions taking place across Europe between July and December 2017 and in Seoul in 2018. For more information on these visit: Frontiers in Retreat- Edge Effects

Frontiers In Retreat is organised by HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme in partnership with Mustarinda, Finland; Scottish Sculpture Workshop, Scotland; Interdisciplinary Art Group SERDE, Latvia; Cultural Front -GRAD, Serbia; Centre d’Art i Natura de Farrera, Spain; Skaftfell – Centre for Visual Art, Iceland; and Jutempus, Lithuania.

Scottish Sculpture Workshop presented Edge Effects in Glasgow as a part of Intentions in Action – Public Engagement programme at the CCA Glasgow, and in collaboration with Counterflows, Creative Carbon Scotland and Project Cafe.

Frontiers in Retreat is funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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