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Deveron Projects

The Town Is The Venue
What have walking and food got to do with art? What have walking and food got to do with art?

Jonathan Baxter & Sarah Gittins

Future Fruit

2019 – 2021

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Rethinking Huntly from a Geddesian perspective

Jonathan Baxter and Sarah Gittins recently became a family, adding Benjamin Baxter-Gittins to their collaborative practice. Ben is Scots for mountain peak. So when thinking about their responsibilities to Ben and how they might approach this residency, they asked themselves the question: what does it mean to think like a mountain? This question, derived from Aldo Leopold's book, A Sand County Almanac (1949), asks us to think from the perspective of an ecosystem, not just as individuals. It's with this ecocentic perspective in mind that Jonathan, Sarah and Ben will consider how an existing orchard1 can be rethought in response to our current ecological and climate emergency.

Adding another layer to their residency, the trio will also consider the relevance of Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) - ecologist, educator and visual thinker - to Huntly. How do the visual tools Geddes used to aid his thinking relate to the many interests and needs of all age groups, cultures, demographics, and species in Huntly? For example, Geddes's 'nine-squared thinking machine', otherwise known as 'The Notation of Life' (pictured here) or Geddes' Outlook Tower, a real building in Edinburgh (the Camera Obscura) and a tool for reimagining our relationship with the past, present and future through the evolution of cities.

Hence the project title, Future Fruit - rethinking Huntly from a Geddesian perspective. A synthesis in thought that tends towards collective action.2

Following a site visit in February, the artists will return in August to engage with local residents, spend time in the orchard, and develop a series of public engagement tools that respond to their brief. The artists are particularly keen to meet with anyone who has an interest in orchards, has a fruit tree growing in their own back garden, or wants to take action in response to the current climate and ecological emergency. 

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1. The existing orchard is made up of two separate groups of fruit trees planted by artist Norma Hunter, through her Bite on the Side project, and Networks of Wellbeing.

2. This last sentence appropriates Geddes. The full quotation reads: 'Not every thought takes a form in action; but the psychologist is ever more assured that it at least points thither. With increasing clearness and interests, with increasing synthesis with other thoughts, ideas become emotionalised towards action. Synthesis in thought thus tends to collective action - to Synergy in deed: and Imagination concentrates itself to prefigure, for the Etho-Polity in Synergy, the corresponding Achievement which it may realise.'

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