Jonathan Baxter and Sarah Gittins recently became a family, adding Benjamin Baxter-Gittins to their collaborative practice. Ben is Scots for mountain peak. So when thinking about their responsibilities to Ben and how they might approach this residency, they asked themselves the question: what does it mean to think like a mountain? This question, derived from Aldo Leopold's book, A Sand County Almanac (1949), asks us to think from the perspective of an ecosystem, not just as individuals. It's with this ecocentic perspective in mind that Jonathan, Sarah and Ben will consider how an existing orchard1 can be rethought in response to our current ecological and climate emergency.
Adding another layer to their residency, the trio will also consider the relevance of Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) - ecologist, educator and visual thinker - to Huntly. How do the visual tools Geddes used to aid his thinking relate to the many interests and needs of all age groups, cultures, demographics, and species in Huntly? For example, Geddes's 'nine-squared thinking machine', otherwise known as 'The Notation of Life' (pictured here) or Geddes' Outlook Tower, a real building in Edinburgh (the Camera Obscura) and a tool for reimagining our relationship with the past, present and future through the evolution of cities.
Hence the project title, Future Fruit - rethinking Huntly from a Geddesian perspective. A synthesis in thought that tends towards collective action.2
Following a site visit in February, the artists will return in August to engage with local residents, spend time in the orchard, and develop a series of public engagement tools that respond to their brief. The artists are particularly keen to meet with anyone who has an interest in orchards, has a fruit tree growing in their own back garden, or wants to take action in response to the current climate and ecological emergency.