What's it all about?
In June I was invited to take part in a project with ‘Experimental Use of Space’ following the theme “Nothing Is Forever”. The EUoS group, led by Rodrick Scott initiates annual one-day exhibitions in unusual spaces around the north east of Scotland. This year, it was located at Ardo House, an old farm estate in Aberdeenshire which lies just inland from the coastline of Balmedie and the Menie Estate, which is characterised by its mobile dune landscape. I created my copper installation, “Dune Migration” to highlight the fragility of this specialised habitat and the detrimental effect that human construction, in this case Trump’s golf course, can have.
According to Nature Scot, “this area was a very high quality example of a sand dune system characteristic of north east Scotland, and was of exceptional importance for the wide variety of coastal landforms and processes.” (1) However, the construction of the Trump International Golf Links meant that the previously protected sand dunes had to be fixed.
This intervention had several negative impacts on the sand dune habitat:
§ “permanent direct loss of habitat, i.e. conversion of semi-natural habitats to golf course infra-structure (including tracks, tees, fairways, greens, water features)
§ potential indirect impacts from the use of irrigation, fertilisers and herbicides which in time may affect plant communities
§ stabilisation of mobile sand which has destroyed the dynamic nature of the site and the cycle of habitat creation which is necessary for periodic renewal of sensitive habitats such as dune slacks and mobile dune.
§ control of grazing (rabbits, deer) which will in time result in scrub and coarse vegetation development in sensitive habitats such as dune slacks and wetlands” (2)
It is difficult not to become political when mentioning the Menie Estate and Trump’s golf course but I would like to highlight here that this is merely a local example of a wider global issue.
As well as providing a variety of habitats, the formation and migration of dunes is also nature’s own answer to flood protection during storms and extreme tidal events. A healthy, undisturbed dune system will play a vital role in the natural defence against rising sea levels.
I am delighted that the installation (140x75cm approx) will feature in 'Slow praxis', an exhibition about environment and climate at the Tatha Gallery, 1 High St, Newport-on-Tay. The group show is co-curated by David Cass and runs from 2 September - 7 October 2023