Alan MacPherson (University of Aberdeen): ‘Art – Trees – Walking – Rocks: Deep Time Enchantment in Huntly, Aberdeenshire’

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In April 2010 Hamish Fulton undertook a walk: ‘A 21 DAY WALK 20 NIGHTS CAMPING //
FROM HUNTLY SQUARE TO GLENMORE LODGE’ at the behest of Deveron Arts, a socially
engaged arts organisation based in Huntly, Aberdeenshire. The artist book which emerged as a
result of this walk, Fulton titled Mountain Time Human Time. This book contains a long essay by
Fulton which contextualises his project amid other writings, photographed sketchbook entries
and poster images from many walks spanning his career. Among these images are several which
document boulders crowned by trees which have somehow grown around and on top of the rocks.
In March of this year, Caroline Wendling led the planting of a ‘White Wood’ in the Bin Forest on
the edge of Huntly. The planting brought to culmination Wendling’s Oaks and Amity project
with Deveron Arts. Among the many hundred trees planted were forty oak saplings grown from
acorns produced by trees planted in Kassel, Germany as part of Joseph Beuys’ 7000 Oaks project
(begun 1982). Following Beuys’ initiative of erecting a basalt block beside each tree, but
compromised by external restrictions placed upon the planting, Wendling opted to bury a block of
Lutetian limestone at the foot of each oak, hoping that in time, as the roots grow, these stones will
be pushed back out of the earth becoming visible within the tree structure. My paper will explore
the ways in which both Wendling’s and Fulton’s projects hinge on the complex layering of
temporalities; how both, utilising the axes of time and enchantment, employ tactics of disruption
to challenge the way we perceive ‘human time’. Underpinning this exploration will be the
question: what are the implications, in this case, of raising the spectre of deep time to the surface
(or, indeed, of buying it beneath); what does it mean to be enchanted by the deep time of rocks?

 

 

 

 

 

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