Below The Blanket is an immersive art event which celebrated the Flow Country of Caithness and Sutherland. It was curated by Glasgow-based art house Cryptic and was held in the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh during the 2019 Edinburgh Festival.
Cryptic: Below The Blanket from Cryptic on Vimeo.
Described as a ‘midsummer night’s dream’ by The Herald and rated one of the best outdoor art events in Britain this summer by The Times, Below The Blanket was an one-of-a kind event. It shared the importance and beauty of The Flow Country not only with the UK, but with the world, as tourists flocked to Edinburgh for its famous Festival and Fringe.
The height of my concern as an artist is humankind’s relationship with the environment, other species, each other and the earth’s systems. I am interested in the philosophical ideas of Ecosophy; a balance of mind, environment and society, and Deep Ecology; an environmental movement and philosophy which regards human life as just one of many equal components of a global ecosystem. I aim to create work that generates an immersive and embodied experience to create space for imaginative thinking and reflection around environmental issues. I create openings in my practice for participation and direct engagement through social interaction often framed as listening walks. - Kathy Hinde, artist
Below The Blanket demonstrated the powerful result of collaboration between artists and scientists to raise awareness of the globally important blanket bogs of The Flow Country and particularly their importance in helping us address the current climate crisis. Hannah Imlach and Roxane Andersen were both involved Below the Blanket and delivered a presentation on the power of art and science collaboration at the Flows to the Future End of Project Conference. An audio recording of their discussion can be found on the conference page.
The event allowed access to the Botanic Gardens at dusk, when they are normally closed to the public, to enjoy a unique perspective on The Flow Country. A marked trail led visitors to new work from visual artist and composer Kathy Hinde, composer Luci Holland, visual artist Heather Lander and sound designer Matthew Olden. The artwork took a range of forms, from umbrellas filled with the song of the skylark, to music created from data gathered by scientists working in the Flow Country and to neon sculptures inspired by Sphagnum moss, an essential peat-forming and carbon capturing plant.
Below The Blanket also featured the premiere performances of a choral work composed by Malcolm Lindsay performed by Scotland’s leading baroque ensemble, the Dunedin Consort, among the Garden’s huge cypress trees.