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Deveron Projects

The Town Is The Venue
How do we use walking as an art form? How do we use walking as an art form?

Colonel - Thierry Geoffroy

Made in Huntly


The culture of Scotland refers to the patterns
of human activity and symbolism associated
with Scotland and the Scottish people.
The Free Dictionary
How Scottish do you think you are?

Thierry Geoffrey, alias Colonel, was artist-in-residence with Deveron Projects in 2004.

With such projects underway as the 'branding' of Scotland, as well as local concerns like who is an 'outsider', 'incomer' or a native, the notion of identity and an individuals relationship to place is increasingly on the agenda. Do national or geographic boundaries serve to define the strength of an individual's relationship with a specific place? And to what extent does our heritage and personal past allow us to call a certain place home, or even say that this is where we belong? With these complex issues that each person considers at some point and could provide different points of view about, it becomes a much more subjective field as our society continues to develop into a somewhat more nomadic culture, yet one still concerned with identity. 'How Scottish do you think you are?'


It was this enigmatic and often not so simple question that the residents of Huntly were asked in a thick French accent, by our resident artist, Thierry. Throughout his career as an artist, he has been concerned with how people both view and present themselves - calling upon people to participate with him in projects that allow them to say for themselves what they think. In providing a platform for answering questions of cultural identity one person at a time, Thierry plays with the idea of national boundaries and our consideration of them - are they still important?

To many, of course they are. As a stage for the exhibition of his work, he often utilises a space which similarly knows no boundaries - rather than the limits of the white gallery space that cuts off the artworld from the 'real' world, he often presents his work and findings through the modern media, which possesses an unparalleled spirit of dissemination. In Huntly, Thierry's 'self-assessments' were documented through a series of photographs of his participants displaying a personally imposed percentage of how Scottish they think they are. Some people wondered whether the estimation was to be made in genetic terms - Thierry imposed no scientific criteria, only personal. As a result, a certain absurdity undermined his question as an empirically sound project, although the voices and opinions of the people were louder here than in any clinical study or ticked box. After patrolling the town square, Dean's Shortbread Factory and the local school, around 250 self-assessments were taken and subsequently exhibited in the Huntly Express as a double-page spread, while his performance was documented by the BBC and Grampian TV.

A panel discussion on the question of nationality and identity, led by Richard Demarco, was held in the Huntly Hotel.


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