Monday, 16 July 2018

The Brownfield Research Centre - Brownfield Artist of the Day: Alec Finlay

In our ongoing series highlighting Artists and works submitted to our Brownfield Research Centre, each day until July 22nd, we will be highlighting the work of artists submitting to our Open Call
Alec Finlay has submitted to the Brownfield Research Centre a series of hand-drawn posters from an ongoing manifesto, some of which have a relevance to this specific setting of the Potteries. The material is drawn from an ongoing body of work which considers rewilding in an urban context, in its widest implications. Currently working in siomilar sites in Glasgow, Finlay is looking at waste lots, brownfield sites, and community gardens as well as applying ideas of transhumance, commons, shileings and rewilding to urban settings.

Alec writes..." as an artist and poet I am committed to creating social change through what I call place-awareness. 


speak with the hart's tongue

communal compost bins
make no sense
without communal veg boxes 

there are few wild wants
there are many wild needs

city pines
not urban plans

only by mending the city
will we repair the weather

anyone who thinks wild nature
is dirty and dangerous
hasn't looked very closely at twitter

only wild things are indispensable
(after Picabia)

wild things have their own sequence

without counting, note everything wild around you
now note the relationships between these wild elements

the city tuts at weeds

the wild is under our feet and above our heads

when the wild becomes unthinkable then life becomes impossible

tree-lined avenues are vestiges of the great wood

wildness doesn't begin (or end) at the edge of the city

the wild doesn't shut at 10pm

the wild is a store of unfamiliar adjectives

names lead us into the wild, but names also tame the wild

grubbing around in the weeds is a good place to find new arguments
(after Jacob Rees-Mogg)

we will never remediate climate breakdown in pretty landscapes, only in streets and canals

the sign saying these trees are not safe to climb can't be read from up here

wild lots of willow could make wild lots of heat (biomass)

the river breathes twice a day, and in its breathing there is energy

long periods of unemployment are natural in the wild

nothing makes people more afraid than poverty -
in a landless city with no place to grow food for your family
and shops at every street corner supplying basic needs
(after Evie Love)

a city need not be urban
the city could be wild

weeds, being lovers of broken ground, probably evolved in the scree and boulder fields of the mountains
(after Richard Mabey

we are not animals
we are natures

the wild is treated as an interruption in the city's reason

we treat mountains as the nation's lungs: but most people do their breathing in cities

glass can be wild and so can paper, but never plastic

wild politics: a fluctuating blend of wide-eyed federalism and grassroots anarchism

the moon sets as certainly behind the tower block as the mountain

the reclaiming of public space will only be achieved by an alliance of people and trees

bring back the seasons!

a culture so fixated on death has no need of breath

material existence cannot be sustained without wildness

allotments represent the right to care for the land not the right to own it

the sparrow hawk's swoop
tips up the tower block

the wild flit of the seasons is a rush of signs

parkour is wild architecture

sustainability isn't sustainable


Alec Finlay (born 14 March 1966) is a Scottish-born artist currently based in Edinburgh. Finlay's work takes various forms and media, including poetry, sculpture, collage, audio-visual, neon, and new technologies; often it reflects on human engagement with landscape.

His work has been widely exhibited at The Bluecoat, Tate Modern, Norwich Castle Museum, ARC Gallery (Sofia), and HICA (Highland Institute for Contemporary Art). In 2010, Finlay was shortlisted for the Northern Art Prize.[1] In 2012 he was a finalist in the first annual ALICE awards, nominated for his 2009 project white peak | dark peak (Public Art Category).[2]

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