A Cinematic Garden was installed at Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute in 2003. In 2004-5 it was included in DRIFT, New Media Scotland Touring Moving Image Programme and shown as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival at Stills Gallery, Edinburgh; British Council, Belgrade, Serbia; The Museum of Voivodina, 8th Videomedja Festival, Novi Sad, Serbia; An Tuirrean Art Centre, Portree, Skye touring exhibition
A Cinematic Garden was commissioned as part of the Mount Stuart Contemporary Visual Arts Programme. The work was created through the support of a Scottish Arts Council Assistance Grant for Visual Artists.
A Cinematic Garden
A Cinematic Garden is a video landscape for the policies of the Mount Stuart Estate on the Isle of Bute in Argyll. Commissioned as part of the Mount Stuart Visual Arts Programme the work is a collection of video findings from the greater landscapes of northern and western Scotland: designed landscapes, botanical gardens, kitchen gardens, woodlands, plantations and the meta landscape of Scotland’s hydroelectric infrastructure, dams, intakes, surge tanks and turbine halls. Recalibrated as a singular, kaleidoscopic sequence, the work moves between exotic and native flora, grassland and folly in an evocation of William Gilpin’s tour of the Highlands. Gilpin favoured the Claude Glass, a convex darkened mirror held out towards the landscape to frame the view. Travelling at speed in his carriage he advocated its use as a means of capturing the fleeting passage of time and space.
“In a chaise particularly the exhibitions of the convex mirror are amusing. We are rapidly carried from one object to another. A succession of high-coloured pictures is continually gliding before the eye. They are like the visions of the imagination or the brilliant landscapes of a dream.”
William Gilpin “Remarks on Forest Scenery, and Other Woodland Views, (relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty)” 1781
Mount Stuart is an autobiographical designed landscape composed of a sequence of discrete projects, gardens and avenues, follies and vistas created by a succession of Earls and Marquises from the 18th century to the present day. In the 18th century John Stuart the youthful 3rd Earl of Bute began the process of laying out his policies in the new manner, informed by the flurry of publications, garden treatise and accounts that marked the discipline of garden and landscape design throughout that century. In the 19th century the Calvary Walk attests to the conversion of the then Marquis to the Catholic Church and the reimagining of the route to Calvary, the Via Dolorosa, beside a small burn in an Atlantic woodland. A Cinematic Garden is a digital evocation of a 21st century designed landscape, a challenge to the authority of scale, the demands of structural logic and linear time, a paean to “…the brilliant landscapes of a dream.”