An extended media installation exploring enchantments of delicious, internet feeds, the emptiness of homogenous time, and moths as creatures of thought.

Unthought. Attention Capitalism. Boredom. Ecologies of imagination.

Never before have our minds been more connected, devouring digital feeds but never fed, or getting lost in delicious beauty. Because it is beautiful. Internet connected devices are designed to capture our attention and hold it. How often do we find ourselves falling through the rabbit hole of webs only to forget what we originally went looking for, and for a quick moment to become forty, sixty and counting?

The universality of internet-connection and social media has created an excessively animated and over-exploited collective imagination (Crary 2008). The smooth Instagram aesthetic of homogenous images feeds empty time (Benjamin 1974) and a machinic- imaginary (Manovich 2011): we are hyper-active individuals within cognitive capitalism’s constraints. Ironically, this hypertrophy of collective imagination stops us from re-imagining the conditions under which our hyperactivity is being fed. With our attention constantly stimulated and opportunity for the mind to wander lacking, what thoughts are never formed by the process of thinking, not imagined, not dreamed? What if instead of bathing in the syrupy glow, we listened?

Moth Soup explores this lure through an imaginative installation of hand cranked boxes, silver plated spoons, film and animated moths.

This project is an ongoing investigation and intervention of contemporary imagination’s hyperactivity. Today, digital devices have resulted in dramatic shifts in practices of imagining. The ‘Moth Soup Series’ considers Gregory Bateson’s ecologies of mind, Jane Bennett’s material agency and Johnathon Crary’s attention as commodity to investigate temporality, metamorphosis of matter and relations to perception and imagination. 

Kate Bell is a contemporary arts practitioner predominantly working with film, stop-motion animation and puppetry. Since her BA(Hons) at Gray’s School of Art in 2012, her work has explored ecologies of imagination and objects in relation to ideas of re-enchantment and the animation of matter. After completing an MFA at Duncan of Jordanstone in 2019, cultural epidemics such as mental pollution and the nature of total positivity have become the backbone to her work. Surrealism, magical realism and ideas relating to temporality and philosophies of imagination continue to infuse her practice. Selected achievements: ‘Little Malaise, Weary & the Dream Spider’ installation at SSA Annual Exhibition, 130th Anniversary Edition at Royal Scottish Academy (2022), and at Gannochy Project Space at Perth Creative Exchange (2021) and ‘Little Other & the Unform’ installation at Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival (2020). Artist in residence at Duncan of Jordanstone, University of Dundee (2019-2020) and Impact Arts Projects Ltd (2014-2018). Selected awards: Visual Artist & Craft Makers Award, Creative Scotland Lottery Fund and Fife Contemporary (2023), and Culture Perth & Kinross (2020), Young Artist Masters Award, The Arts Society Fife (2019) and McGlashan Trust Award (2018). Graduated from DJCAD with MFA Fine Art & Humanities with Distinction (2019).

Welcome to this rolling series of creative events led by Journeys in Design, exploring urban design for well-being, collaborating to develop and deliver new Walks, a series of Twilight Talks and an evolving Exhibition across art, design and industry. 

June 2021: a walk on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, collaborating with design experts and enthusiasts 

June 2023: a walk in Glasgow Green, developed and delivered by those with experience of homelessness   

and coming up next…

Concrete Designs to Thrive

12 to 28 June 2024

in and around The Briggait, Glasgow

  • – Material and Modernity Exhibition 
  • – Twilight Talk and ‘zine CDT workshops
  • – Glasgow Green and Grey Walk by Design,

How can we build in well-being so all of us can thrive?

Introduction

Concrete is our material focus for this exploration of urban design and well-being. From the minute to the monumental, concrete is the basis for a huge array of urban interventions across art, design and industry, forming the structural warp to a cultural weft of people, places and activities. 

By Leaves we Live

CDT is underpinned by reflection on the work of pioneering Scottish botanist and town planner, Patrick Geddes.

As a generalist, Geddes worked ‘across silos’ to engage with Creative Allies from science and the arts; his Outlook Tower offered a culture hub for exploring ideas, his Summer Schools brought like minds together and his itinerant Cities and Town Planning Exhibition offered a means to disseminate his work.

In addition, four approaches adopted by Geddes find focus in our CDT programme:

  • civic co-design: understanding local landscape and culture through direct engagement with community
  • – ‘conservative surgery’: retrofit rather than the wrecking ball, a regenerative appraisal of what might work best
  • – the power of nature: biophiliic design, with provision of urban green space and in choice of materials 
  • – internationalism: an enthusiastic embrace of opportunities to debate and exchange beyond borders

Themes and Variations 

Bringing more manageable focus to the broad landscape of urban design, CDT draws on eight essential acts of life:

MEET, HEAL, PRAY, LEARN, NEST, VOTE, WORK and PLAY. As we tour on from Glasgow, we explore different urban landscapes and enable diverse creative energies, giving voice to the local en route. 

Is it a CON?

As evidence grows of the intimate link between individual, community and planetary health, there is a clear tension in referring to Concrete in relation to well-being. Across the globe, concrete is the most utilised material on the planet after water, contributing to 8% of global CO2 emissions; in Scotland, 40% of landfill derives from construction.

As law makers and regulators seek to guide and cajole, designers confront the heavy carbon footprint of this ubiquitous material with innovative approaches to method and material. 

Image Building

Scotland’s photo-maestros have created a stunning archive of the country’s urban landscapes, in particular through imaging the post-war rise (and fall) of archetypal concrete structures. CDT draws inspiration, collaborating with local photographers and creatives to build smartphone archives and a series of zine CDT’s on our Walks by Design.

City Linking

As the programme unfolds, we stretch our journeys beyond borders, inviting creatives from allied cities around the world to foster new international collaborations. We hope you enjoy this ambitious programme, and will journey with us as it unfolds.

Journeys in Design seeks to enable well-being through Design, engaging people at a local level with our walks and workshops and further at the national and international level with our exhibitions and talks.

Join LATERAL NORTH on the 10th January for a conference and exhibition (open in the 1873 Hall until Monday 6 March) which celebrates projects throughout Scotland that focus on the country’s unique, diverse and ever-changing coastline. Click here to register on Eventbrite and for full details of the day’s schedule.

The event will feature a keynote presentation from Calum Maclean, a panel discussion, series of workshops, and manifestos for the future of Scotland’s COAST. The event builds on the West Coast Waters and The COAST That Shaped The World projects, and invites new ideas and opinions about Scotland’s unique geography where landscape meets seascape.

Calum Maclean is a writer, broadcaster and film-maker. He is best known for his social media videos and work on BBC ALBA, in which he shares his love for swimming in cold water, and looking beyond the obvious aspects of outdoor adventure. A native Gaelic-speaker raised in the west Highlands and then the east, Calum also uses the language in much of his work. He aims to teach people about the language and encourage other speakers to use it more often. An ambassador for the Outdoor Swimming Society, Calum is author of 1001 Outdoor Swimming Tips.