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First There is a Mountain - Katie Paterson

  • Waulkmill Bay Orphir Orkney (map)
Katie Paterson  First There is a Mountain , 2019 © the artist

Katie Paterson First There is a Mountain, 2019 © the artist

First There is a Mountain is a new artwork by Katie Paterson that connects the public to the world’s diverse mountains ranges. Touring from 31 March to 27 October 2019, the project involves the creation of a set of ‘buckets and spades’ in the form of world mountains, from which the public will be invited to build mountains of sand across the UK coastline and play out the world’s natural geography against a series of tidal times. Each pail is a scale model of five of Earth’s mountains:
Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mount Shasta (USA), Mount Fuji (Asia), Stromboli (Europe), and Uluru (Oceania), nested together.

The event in Orkney will take place at Waulkmill Bay, Orphir. The event is free but booking is essential. Please contact the Pier Arts Centre on 01856 850209 to book a place.

There is limited parking at the venue so please consider car sharing if possible. The road to the beach is single track with regular passing places and a designated turning point just beyond the toilet block. There is also a bus service from Kirkwall to Orphir that passes the Waulkmill road end.

Please note that there are a number of steep steps or alternatively a path that is uneven under foot down to the beach so it may not be suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. Routes to the beach may be slippy so please wear appropriate attire for all conditions.

25 writers have been invited to write a text, one for each location. Katie Paterson has asked Alec Finlay to write the text for Waulkmill Bay, which Alec will read aloud on the day.

Participants will sculpt beaches into thousands of mountains of sand to form micro-geologies.

First There is a Mountain is a poetic vehicle that connects diverse world mountains to smallest grains of sand, participants holding the world’s geography in their hands, time / geology collapsing, and connecting through touch.

Katie Paterson (born 1981, Scotland) is widely regarded as one of the leading artists of her generation. Collaborating with scientists and researchers across the world, Paterson’s projects consider our place on Earth in the context of geological time and change. Her artworks make use of sophisticated technologies and specialist expertise to stage intimate, poetic and philosophical engagements between people and their natural environment. Combining a Romantic sensibility with a research-based approach, conceptual rigour and coolly minimalist presentation, her work collapses the distance between the viewer and the most distant edges of time and the cosmos.

 First There is a Mountain is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland and Arts Council England.

 Production: Elizabeth Newell in collaboration with Siobhan Maguire at Katie Paterson Studio.

Participants take part at their own risk.