There is a Work in the interpretation of the Work

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


An interdisciplinary symposium and public discussion about the contested context of ‘bing’ oil shale spoil heaps in West Lothian, Scotland. This focused on the largest of a series of these landscape elements, Greendyke Bing, as a unique fragment of cultural and ecological process. In the 70’s artist John Latham described this bing as being formed through a ‘cumulative unconscious act’ he defined as a ‘process sculpture,’ which he went on to name the ‘Niddrie Women and the Heart.’ Through a multi-disciplinary approach (a cumulative conscious act), the seminar will revisit the spirit of Latham and the APG groups work to consider how a similar approach would currently operate in an increasingly insightful interpretation across the arts and planning of this uniquely dynamic landscape, while asking what strategies could be applied in response to the distinctiveness and integrity of the bings? The objective of this event is to tease out key ideas, perceptions and values on the current and future bing landscape, while acting as a precedent for broader aesthetic/ethical issues with post-industrial land. The event is structured into three critical aspects on the contested values of the bing, with invited speakers to contribute perspectives on each, including: Art and Aesthetics: The bing as a historic work of art that spans the past, the present and the future. A challenging mix of complex new ideas about both aesthetics and the sublime. Speakers include Craig Richardson (Art History), and Emily Brady (Environmental Philosophy), with David Harding (Art) & Barbara Steveni (Art) as respondents. Landscape and Ecology: The bing as an island of diversity in an agriculture landscape. Nested cultural/resource waste/ecology with interactions in the broader environment. Is there opportunity to intervene or reinforce the bings ecological conditions to increase biodiversity? How might that alter the landscape? Speakers include Reiko Goto (Art), and Barbra Harvey (Geoscience), with Wallace Heim (Art) & Simon Barton (Conservation) as respondents. Heritage & Community The bing as a testimony to labour, and the industrial. A mass that denies its topographical context. An unmanaged wild/free public space, a mountain of waste that is also mined as a road aggregate resource, Speakers include Peter McHaughey (Art) and Pauline Phemister (Philosophy), with David Edwards (Conservation) as respondant. The event was organized and chaired by Tim Collins (Art) and Ross Mclean (Landscape Architecture), who also contributed introductory presentations on the historical and cultural context of the bings. The event was recorded by Summerhall TV and will be developed into a video output for further dissemination.
Period1 Oct 2016
Event typeSymposium
LocationEdinburgh, United KingdomShow on map