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Deveron Projects

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

Eva Merz



Eva Merz: A critical view on supermarket development in rural locations

As globalisation embarks upon a rate of steady, sprawling growth from urban to rural areas, the effect upon existing space is visible. In order to allow rural communities to enjoy the benefits of supermarket chains, a number of negative consequences become visible, such as the closure of small local businesses and the infringement of public space - threatening both rural economy and identity. How do these retail giants integrate with such communities and what kind of evidence is there of community response?


SPACE / RETAIL / MAGIC is a large-scale photographic installation, responding to the changing face of retailing particularly as it affects rural communities in the North East of Scotland. The work, commissioned by Deveron Projects, focuses on the sustainability of large-scale retail outlets and the visual impact they have on our communities, not only through the buildings they create and leave behind but also the opportunities and spaces they can destroy. Three massive photographic collages (200x400cm), each containing around 1000 single images, depict three sites in different stages relating to supermarket developments.

SPACE / TESCO, Inverurie has a boarded-up supermarket with graffiti and an empty car park, abandoned when Tesco built a new and much bigger outlet just across the road. The store was modern not so long ago, but in supermarket terms it’s ancient, which tells us something about the speed at which supermarkets develop. 

RETAIL / SUPERSTORE, Elgin has a brand-new, huge 24-hour superstore, which has replaced a smaller outlet just across the road in Elgin town centre. The parking lot is enormous; there is no space wasted for trees and flowerbeds as there was at the old Tesco in Inverurie.

MAGIC / MARKET MUIR, Huntly has a green field, which was offered for a supermarket development by Aberdeenshire Council. The local people protested against the selling of their public football and rugby field, the Council finally cancelled the project and the site remains the people’s green playing field. As part of the project Deveron Projects has published a book containing an interview with Joanna Blythman, author of SHOPPED; The Shocking Power of British Supermarkets. The interview focuses on a series of issues from politics and planning permissions to independent businesses and trading competition, to farmers’ and producers’ problems, food quality and the British shopping culture.


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