Case study: Raising awareness of sustainability at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop

22nd October 2014

Case Study: Raising awareness of sustainability at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop

Artists Jonathan Baxter and Sarah Gittins have designed Maintenance and Care signage inspired by Samuel Beckett and Mierle Ukeles, to be displayed at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop and downloaded via the Creative Carbon Scotland website.

Between October 2012 and April 2013, artists Baxter and Gittins undertook a part-time residency at Scottish Sculpture Workshop (SSW), in Lumsden, Aberdeenshire. Their project, When the Future Was Now, investigated food sustainability within SSW as an organisation and Lumsden as a village. During this residency the artists observed and interacted with the SSW community, identifying practical ways to increase the sustainability of the organisation.

Baxter and Gittins drew upon the work of playwright Samuel Beckett and artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles, using their fascination with the minutiae of the everyday and humorously proposing a more avant-garde approach to pro-environmental behaviour. One result of this was their ‘Maintenance and Care’ signage, which highlights small, everyday actions that might positively affect our lives in ‘the future now’, but humorously repurposes quotes and imagery to create a character that the artists thought to be more in tune with the ethos and identity of SSW.

When developing their signage the artists had in mind Ukeles’ Manifesto! Maintenance Art (1969) – a manifesto on how artists and society in general might positively reconceptualise the idea of ‘maintenance’ as a valuable or even aesthetic act rather than an unfortunate necessity.

Nuno Sacramento, director of the Scottish Sculpture Workshop, identified the new creations as distinct from previous pro-environmental behaviour signage:

“The signs are a fantastic way of reminding people – in a poetic rather than evangelical way – that most of their day-to-day actions have an environmental impact.”

Read more about the conceptual design of the project the conceptual design of the project.

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If you wish to publish any of these images elsewhere, please credit Baxter and Gittins as we have done below.

Images: Jonathan Baxter and Sarah Gittens. Maintenance and Care. Produced during the When the Future Was Now residency at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop. 

The Scottish Sculpture Workshop provides residencies, training and exhibition opportunities for visual artists who wish to research ideas, experiment with new techniques or develop existing skills. They are based in Lumsden, Near Huntly, Aberdeenshire.

When the Future Was Now Residency Blog / Jonathan Baxter / Sarah Gittins

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