Speaking The Land 2010

Filmed in Dumfries & Galloway, this work looks at the absence of a type of ‘narrative’ from our landscapes. The work responds to the historical context where many indigenous cultures (Scotland included), once used the act of story telling to deeply embed ways of understanding a locality in that environment. The land itself was the primary mnemonic for stories; it became a vessel to store knowledge or wisdom of ways to live on the land. In the contemporary west, the written word has become the dominant holder of information about our land, and as such we often defer opinion to the specialists who know better than most what is taking place beyond the peripheries of our towns and cities. In turn our own attachment to the land – and any empathy we might once have had with the species we share our environment seeps away.

In response to this we commissioned the writers Robin Lloyd-Jones, John Burnside and Jay Griffiths to create new stories about features in the landscape throughout Dumfries and Galloway and we planted these stories into our film.

Commissioned by Dumfries & Galloway Arts Association in conjunction with Scottish Natural Heritage, with the voices of Tara O Leary, Mark Hunter and Louise Ritchie