EDINBURGH.- ~ in the fields
reinvent old media, modify ancient, odd machines and play with optical toys. They found the starting point for this exhibition on the Shetland Islands leading them to investigate the very elements and definition of Scottish landscape and seascape. This exhibition is their first solo show, and presents three new works plus a site-specific public art commission.
This body of work takes on the old notion of observation, research and (dis)play. In the first work A Diagram of Floating Stones the artists have made particular reference to the aquariums of Victorian oceanographic scientists, and secondly in Drifts Through Debris they have the 16th century book wheel of Agostino Ramelli. Both of these works draw attention to the growing problem of oceanic plastic pollution. The installation on the lower level consists of submerged lace knit-wrapped stones from the beaches of Shetland that have been given buoyancy by found plastic flotation devices from the same beaches. On the upper level seven mirrored dance loops are presented within an hands-on wheel of steel, back projection and driftwood.
The third and final work Yen to See Distant Places is a networked device inspired by the 19th century myriorama card game. Visitors to the exhibition can create seamless panoramas from engravings depicting idealized Scottish landscapes. These are then transmitted to St. Andrew Square where they can be viewed through a telescope located by the Edinburgh Art Festival pavilion. The tripartite deconstructed engravings are drawn mainly from Sir Walter Scotts Provincial Antiquities and Picturesque Scenery of Scotland.
The telescope element of Yen to See Distant Places was co-commissioned by New Media Scotland and Edinburgh Art Festival, supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland. ~ in the fields are recipients of the inaugural Alt-w Design Informatics residency awarded by New Media Scotland.
~ in the fields was founded in Edinburgh in 2005 by artists Nicole Heidtke and Stefan Baumberger. Their work emphasizes natural phenomena and condenses poetic moments into inventions of autonomous, cocooned systems. Their visual art practice draws on archival material, environmental topics and ephemeral artefacts, such as lost forms of cinema.
Nicole Heidtke previously taught at the Bauhaus University of Weimar, Germany, founding the pioneering Masters programme in Media Architecture there. Stefan Baumberger has conducted research at the Institute for Advanced Media Arts and Sciences, Ogaki, Japan. In 2010 they won the inaugural Berlin University of the Arts Award for Interdisciplinary Art and Science for their work ink. They have completed numerous UK public art commissions.
New Media Scotland is a national development agency fostering artist and audience engagement with all forms of new media practice. The Alt-w Fund is for practitioners based in Scotland to make and develop new artworks, devices and creative applications that challenge the notions of what new media creativity can be. The Alt-w Fund is managed by New Media Scotland with investment from Creative Scotland and the Centre for Design Informatics.