Be transported to an abandoned cottage on the Outer Hebrides. Brothers Jamie and Lewis Wardrop invite you to experience their swirling surround multimedia performance, teasing out the jarring sense of absence and the loss of a profound island culture found in a humble island home. Striking live visuals, electronic sound and the words of the great highland poets. It’s Scotland but not as you know it!
On holiday on the islands Jamie and Lewis Wardrop discovered the dilapidated cottage in Leverburgh, South Harris. They were fascinated by the dwelling’s crumbling state and the volume of intriguing belongings left behind by its occupants. The cottage felt like a time capsule of island life over the past fifty years – almost as though contained within its walls the full history of its occupants could be discerned. From old television sets to tacky 1970’s wall art - the dwelling was a snapshot of a family home long forgotten.
At an interesting juncture in Scottish history, the house appeared to record this transitional time from the old world of an isolated island community, steeped in tradition and history, to a modern, more technological, way of life. With the house left unoccupied for a number of years, nature had begun to take over, decomposing and reclaiming the property as its own. In this way, the house intersects a personal and universal understanding of our own nature and history.
Moved by this experience, they set out to create a work that could share this unique and previously obscured viewpoint of their own country. An experience that could fully envelop an audience.
The audience are invited to roam, choosing their own experience of the work. Each corner simultaneously reveals carefully curated video and sound layers of the abandoned home. Lewis plays traditional fiddle songs and Jamie tells rarely told stories from the island, in an evocative Ceilidh scene. Poems are recited from the works of Sorley MacLean, Iain Crichton Smith and Hugh MacDiarmid, who did so much to reflect on the identity of the islander. Audience members are transported out to sea in a whirl of synthesised sound and sampled archive film. Digital technology collides with an old disappearing Scotland to create a unique and unfolding form of storytelling. There is much to dwell on, in this meditative performance.
Originally commissioned as part of the Cryptic Nights programme at the CCA in Glasgow in June 2015, The Dwelling Place, was performed at Summerhall for full run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016 and toured to Aberdeenshire as part of the North East Touring Network. It will be included in the invited program of Hidden Door Festival, Edinburgh in June 2017.