Some of the artworks invite the viewer to consider the psychogeographical aspects of our situation ("You make the world the world"), as well as the psycho-historical aspects of the location ("Just think - there used to be bears here"). Go along with an open mind and time on your hands, observe the signs and you'll see what we mean. The installation is to remain in place until the end of the year.
It was a most raw February day when we were there, with a high tide battering hard against the esplanade which forms the sea-wall protecting the links from the North Sea. We walked under the esplanade and between the beach and the Broad Hill, then traversed the Trinity Cemetery up to the summit of Gallows Hill. Our interpretation of and interaction with the landscape inspired by the artifacts and the topography of the area.
|Under the esplanade|
|Esplanade surveillance cluster.|
For your safety and comfort.
|South face "R"|
|North face "ND"|
|Impressions of previous land-use.|
On the day when we visited, when a very high tide and a storm blowing in from the sea caused the waves to bluster and batter against the sea wall with more violence than we'd ever seen before, it was very easy to imagine a similar day in a time before modern sea defenses, the water inundating the land and reconfiguring the shifting sands, lagoons and watercourses.
This feeling of impermanence; of the diaphanous edge between something and nothing - the delicate balance between certainty and inconstancy which we felt and experienced as we stood braced against the onshore gale surveying the foreshore - put us in mind of the concept of the "Thin Place" in Celtic spirituality and the early Christian church. I've heard there's a Celtic saying that heaven and earth are only three feet apart, and that in the "thin places" that distance is even smaller. The early Christian church in Ireland, in Wales and in Scotland sought out these "thin places" for pilgrimage and in some cases to co-opt the sites and plant their missions on the foundations of pre-existing spirituality.
We feel that others have felt the same about this site throughout the history of our town and perhaps before. On the western slope of the Broad Hill, descending into a hollow and then ascending up to Gallows Hill is the Trinity Cemetery, which hosts a unique monument to people who've willed their remains to medical science for research.
|The increase of knowledge and the advance of medicine|
|A young couple on the summit of Gallows Hill|
|Looking back down the right-of-way from Gallows Hill|
to Broad Hill in the backgound, North Sea beyond.
|Clinging to the old rugged cross|
|Gravediggers baronial-gothic cottage|
|Groove-incised boundary stone.|
|Boundary stone inscribed "TH"|
|Remains of a bonfire on the summit|
There used to be a manure works nearby to the north at Linksfield, involved in the production of fertiliser and chemicals for the leather tanning industry and bleachings. The feedstock for for the works was provided by a police stables, it's dung-heap occupying the site of the present-day football stadium, the name of which - Pittodrie - is from the Gaelic "pitt" - place of and "todhair" - manure; bleaching.
The Manichean paradox embodied in the fact that the filth of manure is transmuted into an agent of purity: the bleach for the tanneries and bleachings, similarly chimes with the transformative and dynamically charged psychogeography inherent in the shifting topography of the area and how that in turn has affected our use of it. A place of comings and goings; of shifting surfaces; of things which are not as they seem; of deaths, planned and natural; of aggression and recreation; and of crime and redemption all in a "thin place", a place on the edge between the land and the sea, the edgelands between here and there; the border between the past and the future. The difference between something and nothing.