The Fifth Giant

Film by Regina Mosch

Audio and composition by Lee Affen

The Bare Project’s time at Lyth Arts Centre in Caithness and offers the sketched beginnings of  the giants they discovered in their time there.

 

As part The Land for Those That Work It (one of Creative Carbon Scotland’s Climate Beacons), Lyth Arts Centre commissioned The Bare Project to create a room of The People’s Palace of Possibility in collaboration with The Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity.

 

We thought this residency would be focussed on the Gaelic and Scots languages of the Highlands – whilst this was mentioned, it was not a focus for many collaborators. Instead, the team quickly found that ownership was a crucial component of people’s relationship with land in Caithness, and that the history of clearances, and the contemporary re-wilding agenda, were close to the surface in people’s thinking about the land around them. Another major theme was around energy production. Caithness hosts the Dounreay Nuclear Powerplant – indeed, this is one of the biggest employers in the region. The county is also covered with wind turbines, which local communities have a mixed relationship with. Across the first week of their residency, all of this complexity filled up their time and conversations – making the team acutely aware of how insufficient a two-week residency was to try and say anything new or meaningful about the human relationships with land in Caithness.

 

As we are primarily a performance company, our route into these crunchy questions is through stories. Enter the giants. Giants in Scottish folklore are often the forces which shape the land around them – they scoop up earth and form lochs, they fall asleep and mountain ranges appear. So, with this in mind, the team questioned who the giants of today’s Caithness would be. Quickly, roughly, The Bare Project sketched out four giants based on our conversations with local people. These giants loosely and poetically represented the big estates and their landlords, the energy companies, well-intentioned land projects (such as rewilding projects), and finally, the giant’s giant who encompassed the wind, the rain, the ocean, the salt, and the soil. They then used these characters to create new mythologies about the lands of Caithness at a big final feasting and storytelling event in Reiss Village Hall.

Film by Regina Mosch

Audio and composition by Lee Affen

 


The Bare Project’s time at Lyth Arts Centre in Caithness and offers the sketched beginnings of  the giants they discovered in their time there.

As part The Land for Those That Work It (one of Creative Carbon Scotland’s Climate Beacons), Lyth Arts Centre commissioned The Bare Project to create a room of The People’s Palace of Possibility in collaboration with The Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity.

We thought this residency would be focussed on the Gaelic and Scots languages of the Highlands – whilst this was mentioned, it was not a focus for many collaborators. Instead, the team quickly found that ownership was a crucial component of people’s relationship with land in Caithness, and that the history of clearances, and the contemporary re-wilding agenda, were close to the surface in people’s thinking about the land around them. Another major theme was around energy production. Caithness hosts the Dounreay Nuclear Powerplant – indeed, this is one of the biggest employers in the region. The county is also covered with wind turbines, which local communities have a mixed relationship with. Across the first week of their residency, all of this complexity filled up their time and conversations – making the team acutely aware of how insufficient a two-week residency was to try and say anything new or meaningful about the human relationships with land in Caithness.

As we are primarily a performance company, our route into these crunchy questions is through stories. Enter the giants. Giants in Scottish folklore are often the forces which shape the land around them – they scoop up earth and form lochs, they fall asleep and mountain ranges appear. So, with this in mind, the team questioned who the giants of today’s Caithness would be. Quickly, roughly, The Bare Project sketched out four giants based on our conversations with local people. These giants loosely and poetically represented the big estates and their landlords, the energy companies, well-intentioned land projects (such as rewilding projects), and finally, the giant’s giant who encompassed the wind, the rain, the ocean, the salt, and the soil. They then used these characters to create new mythologies about the lands of Caithness at a big final feasting and storytelling event in Reiss Village Hall.