Landscape of Mutability

Landscape experiences during COVID-19 pandemic

Introduction - landscape experiences under the pandemic and its lockdown

Though movement from place to place seems to characterise the modern world – the world of travel and migration – the aim of this online exhibition and the related exercise has been more inward looking and based on ecological considerations: staying voluntarily in one place or in a limited sphere of movement. Limitations could, for example, be such as “as far as your feet can carry you.” We have wanted to emphasise the relevance of this whether we are faced with the current pandemic or not, and the regulations it has imposed on us. Nevertheless, it is essential in the face of the impending ecological catastrophe that we begin researching and reflecting in earnest on alternative ways to quench our desire to experience and share old and new landscapes without contributing to the progress of this catastrophe.

Approaching spring 2021, we realised we would be looking at life one year on from the start of the first lockdown and felt it was time to reflect on lessons learnt. In that year, what have we discovered during about adapting to new circumstances? Are there lessons that can be fruitfully taken forward? In what ways can immobility bring new insight? What media and technologies do we already have at our disposal for meeting and enjoying landscapes together without moving from one place to another? We decided to draw from the ‘mail art’ movement that began in the 1960s but repurposed it for current conditions to expand our network within Scotland and to maintain a sense of community. We sent blank postcards to colleagues in academia, in organisations and among artists around Scotland, in addition to those outwith Scotland engaging with Scottish landscape. Participants were asked to use each postcard as a canvas on which to express – in images, words, or other forms – the changing nature of the landscape in their lived perception.

The present online exhibition collects these postcards together in a map with a timeline. Together they provide us a glimpse of landscape experiences across Scotland (and beyond) and highlight a variety of interactions with landscapes under circumstances of limited mobility.

Organisers: Minna Törmä, Nathan Woolley, Saeko Yazaki and Deborah Dixon

Participants (in alphabetical order): John Bonehill, Marie-Claire Cameron, Anne Campbell, Tina Fiske, Ysanne Holt, Marnie Keltie, Hayden Lorimer, Ailsa MacFarlane, James Moore, Stephanie O’Rourke, Roxane Permar, Alan Spence, Steven Timoney and Harry Watkins