As one of the invited artists in the 184th Royal Scottish Academy in 2010, Kate Downie drew directly in charcoal onto the curved ‘alcove’ wall surface which joins two main gallery spaces, the work evolves over 25 hours, layer upon layer of different barriers, the routes through the city junction obscured, strange new spaces created.
When lands are destroyed and people displaced, a bard in the old highland tradition would write a lament, perhaps compose a Pibroch (a bagpipe tune) to commemorate the event. Pibroch does not follow a strict metre though it does have a rhythmic flow or pulse, not unlike the interrupted human flow through the Haymarket Junction in Edinburgh. Thus here the artist chose to draw her Pibroch commemorating and lamenting displaced city dwellers and destroyed urban spaces in the here and now.
The video work ‘Drawing the Pibroch’ tracks both the progress of this drawing and is sound tracked by ‘The Companies Lament’, beautifully played in 21st century idiom by Gary West and Wendy Stewart. Constructed and photographed by AV artist Michael Wolchover, this work attempts to express a contemporary testament to the displaced city people everywhere.