KEEP OUT

A1 folded map printed on Progeo paper, digitally printed

As part of my research around land ownership in Scotland, I came across ‘Parkswatch Scotland’, a blog run by Nick Kempe which critically documents the developments of the National Parks. Nick fights for access rights (one’s rights to access privately owned land), a necessary battle in a country where ‘concentrated landownership has caused significant damage’ (The Herald, 2019).

‘Keep Out’ consists of the transcript of an interview with Nick. Talking about subjects such as the traditional right to roam in Scotland, to today’s Scottish National Parks’ conflicted interests, Nick’s words covered an actual ‘history’ of access that felt worth illustrating.
As Nick had advised me, I visited the Drumochter Pass area to witness the concentration of sporting estates and I was able to take pictures of evidences. Traps to kill grouse chicks predators, medication to improve grouse’s immune system, burnt trees and ‘patchy’ looking hills due to the burning of the heath, plastic cones and tubs left lying around on the estates, roads built up from bottom of the hill to top, formed a body of images I used as starting points to illustrate the interview with Nick.










ROAMING THROUGH SCOTLAND

Four sets of 12 postcards, digitally printed and glue-bound 

‘Scotland has the most inequitable land ownership in the West’ (The Guardian, 2013). Reasons for this partly date back to the Clearances (the systematical eviction of farmers in the Highlands in the eighteenth and nineteenth century), the settlement of an aristocracy and an ongoing quasi-feudal system.

It makes the Right to Roam (the right for the public to access privately owned land) a precious asset. Inspired by campaigner Nick Kempe who reports unlawful signs preventing access, I started my own collection of signs. I asked friends who would go around Scotland to look for them, put up posters to ask for pictures of them, and took pictures of them during walks. 
In parallel, I was looking at the ubiquitous imagery of glens emptied from people, present on old found postcards and the violence from the past they embody and seem to glorify. The serenity these postcards try to convey is far from my personal experience of roaming through Scotland.

The postcard sets I made correspond to walks I went on, that were interrupted or disrupted by the appearance of signs and clashed with the romanticised image of rural Scotland. They force the potential visitor to question human activity that happens on the land as well as to reconsider their own prejudices.