The word 'windlin' in the Shetlaen language embodies the duality of loss and renewal. It is a bundle of grasses, a sign of both end and beginning, of hope and renewal, as the hay has been harvested and then secured in a bundle for positive, productive use. In dialect it can also mean something that is torn off by the wind.
This meaning of ‘windlins’ as ‘lost to the wind’ refers to the sense of loss we are experiencing in Shetland where, paradoxically, the construction of an industrial scale wind farm has opened the doors to large corporations who are aggressively extracting our natural wind resource for shareholders’ profit. We are witnessing widespread loss of wildlife, with species made extinct by the construction process; impact on individual health and well being; damage to our community; cultural heritage and sense of place.
I made this film for the Living in the Landscape project in which I participated in 2024 along with my students on the MA Art and Social Practice at UHI Shetland, University of the Highlands and Islands. It is my response to the theme of ‘forest’. The film is in part an invitation to look, to see, to listen and to hear, to discover the world around us, to retrieve knowledge and culture lost with the disappearance of forests particularly in Scotland and Shetland, where the landscape is treeless, and we have no forest culture. It represents my reconciliation with the forest by learning how to overcome a fear of it and be able to be within it.
I filmed the trees while listening for their sound in the wind - psithurism - during field work in Sweden (the High Coast) in May 2023 with artists and postgraduate students from the other universities involved in the project - University of Lapland, Nord University Nesna Campus, Umeå University, University of the Highlands and Islands, University of the West of Scotland, University of Alaska Anchorage and the Yukon School of Visual Arts - who are all part of the ASAD (Arctic Sustainable Arts and Design) thematic network in the University of the Arctic.
The film was exhibited at Umeå University in the exhibition Nurture in November 2023. The publication about the project and exhibition is downloadable here.
Information about the Living in the Landscape project is here.