What motivated you especially to undertake the journey, was living as
expatriates a factor?
We wanted to explore several things
- the potential of the website as a space for art, and for interaction
between audience and artists.
- how we could re - examine and re-present a historic journey using a
- whether using technology in a rural / remote place changes its role
As for living as an expat, Yes - since l left Scotland in 1991, I've often
thought about the influence of my background on my work, and whether this
is more or less critical when you're an expat. Or do you become an expat
order to opt out of having to deal with such problems?
I'm as nostalgic as the next wandering Scot about it all - though I think
in my case this is tempered by an analytical streak - I get the desire
often to come back and re-immerse myself in ' the culture' , as a test as
to whether I can fit in. I think this
could indeed lurk behind my interest in the journey - to analyse what this
nostalgia is really for...
Anything specific you hoped to achieve?
Something unique as a website and as 'art'. I wanted its content to range
from the banal to the elusive to the infuriating to the anecdotal to the
beautiful - and for it to come 'alive' by way of these extremities. I
didn't want it to seem 'designed' (luckily our time shortage precludes
this!) - hopefully the medium is still young enough to stretch to this.
I also wanted to use technology in a way far removed from the 'cyber'
world. In many ways our project is conceptually quite a traditional one,
though the means to the end aren't.
Do you see this as just an art project, or a contemporary account of
a modern update of Boswell et al?
A hybrid of these - perhaps the Internet is the only medium where the
boundaries can blur?
As tourists we probably come away with the same anecdotes as anyone, but
we choose which to respond to on the website as artists. Also, what we make
en route is very different to what we would produce if we took our memories
of the journey home - I guess it really is an art road movie!
How do you feel about tartanisation of Scottish culture?
The fact is that the Scots' worst enemy is themselves when it comes to this
- you only need to look at the tourist brochures and the shortbread tins:
They're not Hollywood Brigadoon stuff - we produce them ourselves!
You only need to witness the pissed camraderie of a Scottish pub at closing
time, or even the departure lounge angst at Glasgow Airport to realise that
the Scot IS as sentimental as Rob Roy et al would have it.
And don't think I'm beyond it- a couple of bars of (even piped) pipe music,
and I'm sobbing into my Drambuie with the rest of them.
For me, my ancestral quest for Guthrie Castle (now fallen from our clan
and they didn't ask me about the sale) was pretty gripping.
I first made a bit of work about it 4 years ago, and have nurtured a desire
to visit it ever since. After quizzing the ancient ex-gardener in the
cottage opposite (who assured us that the American owner was not at home),
we were encouraged to proceed up the drive for a look - pretty nerve
wracking in view of the pheasant shooting going on overhead. Needless to
say, noone was at home, though we indulged in a fair amount of surveillance
style footage before ascertaining this.
The lavish cooked breakfasts were at first a highpoint, but I'm now craving
my usual ever-so-slightly stale oatcakes.
Also the attentiveness with which some of our 'regular s' (on the net) have
kept up with us, has been encouraging.
Food poisoning in Banff, the 24hr day (not long enough), the tangle of
cables in the back of the car.
See diary section of Journal!
Learned anything about yourselves and each other?
I can't achieve as much in a day as I'd like to -our schedule is relentless!
Our technical & social skills are pretty complimentary most of the time.
important in a collaborative venture.
What have you learned about Scotland/the Scots?
Too big a question.
People are a lot more interested in what we're doing than I expected, and
more clued up.
Is this one of the first useful uses of the internet? If so why?
Not sure I understand the question - I don't think the Internet has one
'use' - but I hope our site shows that the audience can be as involved in
website as its producers, whoever they are.
NINA | BACK