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Deveron Projects

The Town Is The Venue
What is ARTocracy about? What is ARTocracy about?

Alec Finlay

Some Colour Trends


Can’t we imagine people who have colour concepts which are other than ours…?
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Remarks on Colour
An investigation into the place-names that are embedded in the Scottish landscape

Edinburgh based artist and poet Alec Finlay worked with us in 2013/14 on the Hielan' Ways project.

The Scottish landscape is embedded with place-names, many printed on maps, many more held in people's memories. Despite the intermittently dour hues of the climate, many of these names derive from colours and describe a colourful world. This lexicon bears the influence of Norse, Gaelic, Pictish, and Scots, as well as English, sometimes reflecting conflict or incomprehension between these cultures. Some names are poetic, others ironic, but they invariably refer to reality, and can be traced back to elements of the landscape. And so we wonder, are The Cairngorms, The Blue Hills, or Am Monadh Ruadh, The Red Hills, or Binnmach duibh, The Dark Hills?


This innovative mapping approaches the landscape not as a distance to be conquered, but a series of views, and colours, to be reflected upon. For Some Colour Trends — trend is Finlay's translation of drove road — place-names are combined to compose real and imaginative walks, in typographical representations, accompanied by new translations of the names into English, revealing something of their origin and evolution, in particular, the ways in which Gaelic culture perceived the landscape.

Unable to walk the landscape himself, Alec worked closely with artist Gill Russell and historian Ron Brander. 


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