[-empyre-] proposalproposal +++ Quarryscar - Andrew Gryf Paterson
andrew gryf paterson
agryfp at gmail.com
Tue Oct 1 03:54:13 AEST 2019
We are UNFINISHED (it was such a rich seam that we will be digging back in
for days or weeks making sense of the interconnections of threads and felts)
As I have been mostly out of email the past week or so, I am happy that my
contribution Quarryscar as a 'proposal proposal' sits still and calmly in
mid-air. Hopefully it was interesting to some of you.
I understood afterwards it is maybe a bit densely compacted soil of
deposited thought, but i hoped poetic to have some space for entry into a
very personal and largely inaccessible site.
Shu Lea suggested that I/we attempt to imagine what might be in another 20
years. Lets presume that the intra-actants of the quarry site are not
human, they could be weeds, birds, worms, insects, small mammals, bacteria,
That the wind, water and particulates will continue to gather and swirl
there. The World Without Us as imagined by Alan Weisman (2005) was a world
without human presence. I am not imagining that. Although maybe in the
microcosm of the wounded hill it will be left to be. Of course I anticipate
and it is very very likely the settlement of Tillicoultry will continue to
be there with humans as the more obvious species making its mark on the
land, water and air.. Living, working, relaxing, sleeping, making love,
bairns (kids), kin, and plants, all ageing and growing up as they have
before together. Together for sure with microplastics, affluents including
all sorts of pharmaceuticals, medicines, hormones and potential
neuro-affectors. Our accumulated digital files and metadata may be
considered as another kind of affluent that will be massively stored
somewhere else as run-off from our late neuro-/cognitive-/surveillance
capitalist lifestyles, most likely, just because the effort to re-locate
people's data to their hometown on mass is unlikely, and hell, who is
interested and caring about this massive re-matricalisation/patrialisation
of shadow data-bodies back to the land? As the ancients did with their
organic bodies onto the organic soil, under large piles of stones, cairns
they were called. Visit Kilmartin Valley some time if you are in Argyll
area of West Scotland (Ref:
will not be surprised to hear my archaeological metaphorical mind was
strengthened there in 2001.. So, in the future, I can imagine that I will
re-maternalize my data-body (lets hope archive.org is still going in 20
years) to Tillicoultry glen, locative-media-virtual-votive-depost -style at
a place I designated as a centre-point XYZ back in 1999, as a castle in the
air. Wounded data.landscapes that don't heal are ones that left unplugged,
unfinished in advance, ghosts that can't even roam.
Warm greetings from a ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki, with a Pakistan
visa in my passport, 2-day mission accomplished. A new adventure is ahead.
cheerie for now!
On Fri, 27 Sep 2019 at 08:41, andrew gryf paterson <agryfp at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear Empyrists,
> Followers, fellows and contributors to the UNFINISHED series of the past
> almost month, Greetings!
> It has been a remarkable set of threads to wear on the eyes, in the mind,
> and woven through the hard disks, drives and devices we hold close and
> probably dear. Thanks so much to Shu Lea for hosting and her care in
> facilitating the beginnings and endings. I have been lurking mostly during
> busy presence-focused weeks here in FI.
> I wish to address in this thread of unfinishedness what I hope is the
> familiar trope or concept of *What is left behind* in ephemeral practices,
> and *What remains* from our actions or conceptions. Since sometime 2003-4,
> in my biography, now here & <www.agryfp.info> I have used the following
> statement "What is left behind as social, digital, material and ephemeral
> residue of 'being t/here' has been a consistent concern"
> I offer an unfinished process, one that in the background has been a
> guiding motivation of some kind for me: 'castles in the air' (ref: title of
> a traditional scottish song, as recorded by James Ballantyne, 19th C., a
> popular image or ‘meme’ ever since) that was poetic, virtual, and
> personally or collectively historical.
> +++ Quarryscar (1999) +++
> My example, ‘Quarryscar’ is a project that I conceived 20 years ago, and
> was the basis of 2 funding applications to Scottish Arts Council Public
> Arts fund, which they wisely *I still reckon* turned down their financial
> support. At the time I only had the vision, not the skill or capacity
> arguably to realise the project. My budget was laughable, my production
> schedule naive. Although I was disappointed it didn't happen at that time,
> I am happy it still stands unfinished, archived as something
> 'not-yet-become' (ref: Ernst Bloch, The Principle of Hope Vol.1), as a
> motivator to keep going, stored with unrealised potential..
> More recently, in 2016, I put online to my archive.org account the
> related files [linked above]. On this archive page is a collection of
> files (see righthand panel on the link above) which relate to a digital 3D
> visualisation project to virtually 'fill in' Craigfoot Quarry that exists
> in the 'Castle Craig' spur of the South-facing Ochil Hills above
> Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, Central Scotland.
> (I also uploaded a photo album of scanned newspaper articles to FB [&
> today will also upload to archive]:
> https://www.facebook.com/agryfp/media_set?set=a.10154454317888343 ..)
> Anyways, to return back in time back then in 1999 when the project was
> conceived, I was living again, age 24-5, at my parents house in
> Tillicoultry, after returning from a 5-month travel to Finland, without own
> apartment or work (I lived in Glasgow previously), but dreaming of
> undertaking master studies in virtual reality environments. Living again,
> almost directly under the quarry, approx 400m away from the quarry
> entrance, the glen and the quarry influenced me again as it had in my late
> teenage years. To reveal something personal, a vulnerability added to the
> unsuccessful funding application documents: The quarry was also the site of
> a recorded as accidental death of my aunt in the early 1990s, in which she
> fell from the top edge of the quarry to the bottom. The physical scar in
> the landscape, was also, for my immediate family, an emotional one to also
> bear witness in the everyday life. I was certain, then, that my project
> concept was also my way to recognise & acknowledge the impact my aunt's
> death had in my family, aswell as process this 'in the face' of living with
> this scar, for the first time directly every day since I left to Glasgow,
> and it's School of Art in autumn 1993.
> My project proposed to involve the combination of landscape 3D contour
> data, photogrammetry, digital animation graphics & modelling. Ambitious
> technically, indeed, arguably unfeasable without large cultural grants 5 or
> 10 times more that I was asking for. The making of, or the result of the
> artefacts proposed, was also to encourage discussions with local members of
> the community about local history; ecological activism; industrial surface
> mining & extraction as aggregate stone matter (mostly to built roads);
> visual, ecological, particle and/or noise pollution.
> There was also an intriguing historical archaeological reference that a
> renowned old Pict fortress of the Maeatae tribe sat on the brow of land
> that was carved away by the quarry.. One that overlooked their supposed
> southern boundary to (Brythonic) Goddodin Manaw lands, and further beyond
> over the Firth of Forth waters and Antonine’s wall the Northen limit of
> Roman occupation and colonisation on the British Isle(s).
> While there was evidence of small scale quarrying since 1880s, the
> Craigfoot Quarry opened in 1930 by R.W. Menzies, exploiting a fault of
> Quartz-Dolerite, also known as Whinstone. There was further evidence in
> local Alloa Advertiser newspapers of local residential & municipal protests
> at the expansion of the quarry from mid to later decades of the 20th
> Century, as the quarry size permanently affected the South -facing vista of
> the Ochil Hills.
> To return to the imaginary and the poetic reference of the *castle in the
> air or sky*.. The ancient indigenous castle that used to have material and
> emotional ground underneath it to exist, but little else now as resource.
> Instead of making roads & highways, I was thinking instead of informative
> routes and dialogical ways of engaging present, personal & collective past
> and imaginary futures. It is a path that I have continued ever since,
> especially in my Msc thesis from University of Teesside, and my very
> longplay Doctor of Arts study at Media Lab, University of Art and Design
> Helsinki, now Aalto University ARTS Media dept. I present myself and will
> do in defence, as being invested in ‘autoarchaeologies’ (abstract as slides
> below in reference links).
> I reflect 20 years later, that it was probably for the best that this
> project's imaginary of filling in the land lies undone.
> Firstly, it probably wouldn't have been that useful for my close family to
> make a public art work from this context & location. Even if it might have
> been a process I needed to engage with conceptually, it would have been
> difficult to not reveal the personal side of my relationship to the quarry
> if the project became public. My aunt’s death was a small note only in the
> local newspaper at the time, and I hardly discussed it with my friends of
> the time. It was buried under or among the psycho-dramatic aggregate of
> small town life, hanging out on the street in shop-door gangs, getting
> wasted more or less, and eventually absorbed into provincial
> Scottish/Northern British Happy Hardcore or London-style Hardcore Jungle
> techno-utopias of Rave Culture (The later I nowadays claim ‘saved my/our
> life(s)’ from cynicism and apathy of post-Thacherite social collapse).. The
> themes seeped into my Art School application portfolio, and out a little
> within my Fine Art Printmaking degree work..
> A virtual, digital skin, covering up the gap in the photographic
> landscape, even if semi-realistic visually, I learned later after studying
> computer graphics & virtual environments in 2000-2001, is still uncanny
> valley never-mind uncanny quarry.
> The quarry was closed, as I write, at least 5 years ago. Physical
> land-scaping of the site--or it's filling in and re-landscaping to be
> precise--is only now happening with the gentle and slow processes of mother
> nature, healing at it's own pace. Certainly not by Tillicoultry Quarries
> Ltd. it seems, 20 years later, despite historical requirements or
> conditions to do so, in exchange for planning permissions granted by the
> local municipality Central Region or Clackmannanshire Council to expand the
> quarry at different times of its later history, when environmentalism was a
> recurring concern among local resident 'citizens'.
> In writing this elaborated statement, the unfinished nature of the
> project, exposure and reflection now meets the current times. If the
> project is ever attempted in the future, and it is certainly very feasible
> technically 20 years later, the question is, would it make any difference?
> Is it possible to mix the poetic and the literal concrete?
> When scars exist on our flesh and blood bodies we accept them as survivor
> marks of some pain and healing. When scars exist in our emotional
> landscape, we encourage revisiting them and gradually putting them to rest,
> to fill them in, let’s say, connecting to the Quarryscar imaginary that has
> ‘not-yet-become’.. Can we accept this in our ecological and physical
> When is activism about the land done? Like, done. Over. Is it ever?
> After all natureculture and the ecosystems are forever and ongoing, we are
> part of, but will carry on regardless without us humans in the energy links
> and exchange.
> Thanks for reading this far, I now hand these words over for you.
> My best,
> Master thesis & contemporary research related to stratigraphical metaphors
> and autoarchaeology:’
> Supplementary materials which reference to the location & context in 1999:
> andrew gryf patersonm.fi +358 50402 3828 [permanent, telegram]http://agryfp.info [archive.org/details/@agryfp]
> socialmedia id: agryfp
andrew gryf patersonm.fi +358 50402 3828 [permanent,
socialmedia id: agryfp
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the empyre