Imagining Natural Scotland Project for the Year of Natural Scotland 2013, presented at the INS Conference at the University of St Andrews on 27th August 2013.
‘Water of Life’ will use novel, collaborative artistic means to explore and add new perspectives to some key debates in current environmentalism, including: what constitutes a ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ urban river ecosystem; the varying ecosystem services provided by different flows of water through urban environments; and ever evolving issues of water supply, aquatic habitat conservation and flood management schemes for Edinburgh’s water networks.
The collaborative process between Tommy Perman – a visual and sound artist – and Rob St. John – an environmental scientist, writer and musician – will produce drawings, photographs, writing and sound illustrating that at every scale – from humans to otters, from trout to tiny diatoms – we are bodies of water, linked by living in the city, linked by our pipelines and networks. Encouraging this personal connection and interaction with environments ‘close to home’ has the potential to foster an increased awareness of – and responsibility for – issues of conservation and sustainability amongst the public.
This project will use novel methods to suggest new conceptualisations of ‘natural’ systems in Edinburgh, producing new mappings of the interrelationiships between humans and the environment, and new perspectives on environmental sustainability and conservation in urban environments through art.
We will use creative methods to unpick and explain a set of the most important and heavily researched topics in current environmental management, sustainability and conservation, providing new insights for the role of art for productive environmental communication and engagement.
Rob St John and Tommy Perman