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Scottish soils featured in art and science crossover project

Dr Allan Lilly and Ms Ilana Halperin at National Soils Archive
"The incredible geological history and stories embedded in these soils are both exhilarating to imagine, and remarkable to respond to. They really are living geological history"

Samples from Scotland’s National Soil Archive hosted at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen have been used for the art/science project Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana) by artist Ilana Halperin, which highlights the historical connections between Japan and Scotland.

Coordinated by Aberdeen-based art curator Naoko Mabon, the project features sculptures shaped by geothermal energy in Beppu, a Japanese city famous for its geothermal sites, and Scottish soil samples from James Hutton’s farm in Berwickshire, where he started to formulate his concept of deep geologic time.

Ms Halperin describes that these Scottish soils continue the narrative of exchange between places and timescales longer than the human lifespan, ideas which are intrinsic to the project.

“I am extremely honoured to work with soils sourced from James Hutton's farm, to develop a new work for the exhibition at Peacock Visual Arts. The incredible geological history and stories embedded in these soils are both exhilarating to imagine, and remarkable to respond to. They really are living geological history.

“The opportunity to collaborate with the James Hutton Institute and National Soil Archive on this project has been wonderful, evocative and extremely fruitful. I hope it marks the beginning of many conversations and projects which we may develop together in the future.”

Dr Allan Lilly, principal soil scientist at the James Hutton Institute’s Environmental and Biochemical Sciences, said the National Soil Archive provides a reference to the state of Scotland’s soil in the past.

“The Archive was established in 1934 and includes more than 43,000 air-dried soil samples collected from 13,000 locations across Scotland. It is an essential resource that can be used to test new analyses and monitor changes in soil over time.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Ms Halperin in her work to reflect exchanges between places and timescales that go beyond the human lifespan. Soils are the product of many different factors and are formed over the course of millennia. Both Ms Halperin and I are particularly pleased that we were able to make the historical connection with James Hutton.”

The exhibition will run from 31st March to 29th April 2017 at Peacock Visual Arts, 21 Castle St, Aberdeen AB11 5BQ. For more information, visit the project website.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/scottish-soils-featured-art-and-science-crossover-project on 15/08/18 11:54:18 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.