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Deveron Projects

The Town Is The Venue
Where in the world is Huntly? Where in the world is Huntly?

Gayle Chong Kwan

Wandering Waste

2014 – 2015

Only now, on their return, can their serious exploration begin, for imagination will henceforth be their guide as they travel backwards through their memories.

Jules Verne, Voyage à Reculons en Angleterre et l’Ecosse

A fantastical exploration of aesthetic food ideals

Scottish/Chinese Mauritian artist Gayle Chong Kwan joined us from London during summer 2014, to work with Deans of Huntly Shortbread factory, developing new artisan shortbread creations as part of the Skills Biennial.

Her project explored the role of archetypes, ideals and waste in food growing, production and consumption.  Drawing upon Jules Verne's relationship to Scotland*–upon Jules Verne's connection with otherworldly or fantastical travel, landscape, science fiction and the notion of archetypes. Gayle adopted the role of a traveller to distant and fantastical lands of aesthetic food ideals, non-aesthetic food and notions of waste, to explore notions of archetypes and remains, what is in excess, left over from, seen as superfluous, discarded. She worked with Deans Shortbread and growing communities in Huntly to collect recipes and processes, which use waste ingredients; and to explore how can waste be reduced in domestic, artisanal and factory food production?


*Jules Verne was so inspired after his first visit to Scotland in 1859 that he situated three of his novels here, whilst many of his other novels featured Scottish characters as romantic and heroic archetypes.

'Wandering Waste' looks at waste as something that cannot be standardised, as a land of survival in a world where everything (including food) is quickly consumed and digested. Instead of the regular shortbread biscuits, this time Dean's kitchen have pushed their recipes into new lands and have re-connected with the local community to produce unusual and intriguing flavour combinations. Huntly's ancient severe topography has melted into the dough mixture and it has become a visually non-perfect yet accomplished expression of a place and its community. Chong Kwan worked with a member of Dean's, Siobhan Ingram, part of whose role includes the development of new flavours and ranges. Through a series of sessions they explored their personal memories, tastes and ideas of shortbread and herbs in relation to the landscape and ideas Chong Kwan identified in Verne.

Wandering Waste concluded with a sensory food event, which took place during the Hairst festival in September 2014, as part of the North East Scotland Skills Biennale; and a travelogue of 'Wandering Waste' in which she traces a narrative around archetypes and waste, and a series of photographs developed in conjunction with Stills Gallery in Edinburgh. She received a Royal Scottish Academy Residency for Scotland Award to undertake this project.

Gayle's project also forms part of the Skills Biennale, a collaboration between five major arts organisations based in the North East of Scotland. The theme is food and sustainability, creating a platform for five collaborations between artists and food practices. The project also engaged Cristiana Bottigella, acting as writer in residence during Gayle's project. Read her report.

     Dean's of HuntlyRoyal Scottish Academy

   Heritage Lottery Fund

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