I Rogan

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LIVENESS - The Natural History Centre, University of Aberdeen

February 2013

Installation

BLOOM Eco Project is a series of installations within the University of Aberdeen's Natural History Centre, inspired by the local environment. A taxidermy collection, science equipment (microscopes) and slides of microorganisms developed from nearby water collections are employed in an installation 'Liveness' by Irene in which the taxidermy specimens are taken from shelves and glass cases and placed on the floor in aethestic arrangement at the centre of the room. In removing the specimens from their traditional setting it provided a more intimate encounter with the collection not usually experienced by visitors. Taxidermy displays are less seen these days having been dismantled and stored away, viewed as part of an era where collecting contributed to decline in animal species, perhaps destroying the environment whereas taxidermy today is a practice that seeks to give 'liveness' to the dead, displaying death yet animating life through audience reactions of wonder at being in such close proximity to creatures that were once indigenous tspecies.

BLOOM Eco Project includes collaboration with sound artist Ross Whyte ‘Sounds of the Don’ accompanied Rogan's work of a digital slideshow of diatoms she had researched.

BLOOM Eco Project involved three primary schools in a series of field trips to collect flora and fauna for observation under microscope and research of water borne microorganisms. This research was used to inspire discussion and development of large installation exploring the phenomenon of of algal blooms by creating a sculptural installation to 'take over' the Natural History Centre.

The University of Aberdeen Natural History Centre staff were generous in supporting the residency and with the installations, offering advice, assistance and use of facilites allowing the artist access to their rooms and valuable taxidermy specimens.

garden of earthly delights

Garden of Earthly Delights I & II
Cruickshank Botanic Gardens
University of Aberdeen

February 2013

Intervention

The Garden of Earthly Delights Cruickshank Botanic Gardens, Aberdeen is work that connects the participant with the ral and built environment and public spaces.

The Garden of Earthly Delights is series of installations around the gardens with the main work located within the ornamental Rose Garden and Rose Bower . The locating of this work in the Rose Garden alludes to a larger scale ornate garden nearby in Seaton Park by the River Don and to public space such as parks.

The Rose Garden is briefly transformed using a colourful display of artificial flowers, the majority of which are roses and the contributions of flowers from the public who are invited to place their flowers in the display, in exchange each person is given a packet of mystery seeds to take home and sow and nurture to produce a living plant.

This work is a playful piece with a serious message, placing the artificial flowers where real roses would grow creating a sudden burst of over-bright colours juxtaposed within the winter setting reminds us of the summer, yet this is a jarring experience in an outdoor setting full of artificially manmade objects, reminds us of our culture's eagerness to replace nature with its own dubious creations – (could these be cemetery flowers). Confronting us with what most of us believe to be kitsch, the public are invited to contribute by donating their unwanted flowers and meditate on the ways in which the structures created can transform the way we see things. In referring to the famous Hieronymous Bosch painting from which this work derived it’s title is a panorama of Heaven and Hell showing humanity in a state of chaos.

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Garden of Earthly Delights II

Following on from 'Garden of Earthly Delights I' I used the dontated flowers from this work to explore other public spaces, nearby parks and gardens and waste land to connect with research into recent civic history of Aberdeen. When famous Royal Horticulturist David Welch was director of Leisure and Recreation Aberdeen, he transformed the "granite city" into the "floral city" when he left in 1992 there were more than two million rose bushes. This connection is exploited in ‘Garden of Earthly Delights II’ an experiment examining the effects of placing objects in familiar spaces with a strong symbolic resonance at selected sites along the River Don. Many of the locations were chosen from answers to questions asked during consultations with local residents and visitors, concerning preferred gateways and access points to the river. This information was used to decorate selected sites with the artificial flowers and roses these included the hidden, less known areas. We examined how these 'gifts' of public art create an immediate impact, a simple transformation takes place and adjusts our perceptions of a site. How, why and where would you install artworks in natural or urban environment to encourage visitors?

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