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a digital re-appraisal of the Highland Clearances

"Absences" was produced for the Czech Centre for Experimental Theatre in Brno, CZ in 2002 and installed in the mediaeval underground cellars of the Theatre, remarkable for their echoing, labyrinthine structure. It comprised two sets of digital images and a CD Audio sound track. The larger laminated prints depict contemporary Scottish landscapes peopled by the 'ghosts' of the displaced tenants, who were forcibly expelled from their homes and sent to Canada, America and Australia to make way for more profitable sheep farming. The second, smaller set of images, printed on watercolour paper, combine 18th-century engravings of the events collaged over contemporary Scottish scenes.  The sound track, played over multiple speakers scattered through the exhibition, narrated, in male and female whispered voices, contemporary eye-witness accounts of the, often brutal, expulsions. The voices were digitally enhanced and manipulated to form an eery echoing effect which reverberated through the underground cellars from multiple speakers.

"Absences" received major funding from the AHRB and the Catalogue, with or without soundtrack, is available in our shop.  Selections from the exhibition toured to Tainan in 2007 and Brazil in 2023.

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