Dalziel + Scullion : Goes Ah

Goes Ah

Dalziel + Scullion

Shown at Iain Irving Projects, Greenwards, by Hatton, Aberdeenshire, April/May 1997.

Goes Ah was an installation of 3 light and sound boxes showing images from a car trip coupled with snatches of conversation and music.

Somebody once said or wrote somewhere that the best sight on earth is the sky above your head. And on that part of earth known as the north east of Scotland – and specifically here I’m referring to that strip from Newburgh Bar, the Sands of Forvie and Hackley Bay; to Collieston, to Hatton and Cruden Bay; to Buchan Ness and Peterhead; to St Fergus, Rattray Head, Crimond air field and St Combs; Fraserburgh and around the tip of Kinnaird Head; then to Pennan and MacDuff; that strip where Matthew Dalziel and Louise Scullion live and make work; where Iain Irving lives and operates from too – you can see a lot of sky. It’s because this place is rural not urban. It’s because it is so flat and spacious, and, in a way, so minimal. Things that protrude above the horizon – a church spire, a wind sock for a private airfield, a light house, radar, a silo, or some sort of installation of advanced technology, for farming, fishing, communications, energy or defence – are like signals of social, natural, cultural, political and economic lives. There is too, a certain quality of light – a different light to that of other places: a clearer, crisper, ‘truer’, light. It helps you see things clearly. And because this strip of land is coastal the best sight on earth is also the sea.

Long roads feature here too. For driving in a fast moving car is a necessity. It is normal to cover many, many miles. Great distances are travelled to achieve something quite ordinary – to visit a friend, to go to the pub, to do a bit of business, to buy a pint of milk, to get a stamp and post a letter, to see some art. But you get used to it. For distance is a mind-set and ‘near’ and ‘far’ are relative terms. If you’re used to travelling, places seem nearer. Besides, as well as cars we have phones, faxes and e-mail, not to mention trains and planes – the world is a small place. And driving like the sky allows you space – to think about nothing and think about something. It helps you see things clearly. It depends on what you focus: the interior of the car, the music or voice of the radio, the glass of the window, or the scene – the land, the sea or the sky – beyond, or something else entirely like a memory, a thought, a sound or conversation. Its a form of meditation. And sometimes you can travel without going anywhere.

So Dalziel + Scullion have collaborated with Iain Irving projects to produce ‘Goes Ah’. And perhaps ‘Goes Ah’ is a form of meditation too. It describes and identifies something of the north east of Scotland, even as the north east of Scotland describes and identifies it. ‘Goes Ah’ also indicates another place more universal – more global – not rooted in geography but rooted instead in our thoughts and feelings. ‘Goes Ah’ is an installation of light and sound – images from a car trip coupled with snatches of conversations. You might focus on what you hear, then realise you haven’t seen what you’ve looked at for at least five minutes. Then tuning in to the scene before you, the sound you hear might change what you see. Like a journey new scenes, and sounds, come and go and wipe out what came previously. Thoughts come to mind. Memories surface. They’re mulled over, pondered on, shuffled around, re-classified and forgotten again until next time. Suddenly you encounter something which stays with you forever. The best sight on earth: ‘Goes Ah’.

Judith Findlay

text from limited-run publication for ‘Dalziel + Scullion, Goes Ah’, Iain Irving : Projects, April 1997.

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