Sown is a series created in different cities around Europe. Each image is the result of a process of exchange: a collaboration between the artist and small organizations and groups of neighbors. Each image is an attempt to underline the potential and the process of transformation of an urban space, sometimes a wasteland, sometimes a reclaimed area like an urban garden.
Sown started in the community gardens of Glasgow, where a series of light installations were set up to suggest the process of transformation that takes place in the postindustrial cities. The work is underlining the possibility of a process of change, using the darkness and a set of lights to depict a common space as an imaginary place/ The work consists of temporary light installations in open spaces, where the energy comes from the houses of the neighbors through very long extension cables.
The series has been realised through different residency and in collaboration with numerous organisations and individuals: Map Mobility Programme 2012 by Pepinieres europeennes at KIK, TIK festival Brussels, OKNO, Citymined Belgium, Urbanahoeve, Farming the city Amsterdam, NVA, Glasgow Harvest festival, Glasgow School of Art, The New Glasgow Society, Stills gallery, Streetlevel, Southseeds, Concrete Garden Possil, Woodlands garden, The hidden gardens, Dennistoun diggers, Couch house trust, NEPN, The Northern gallery for contemporary art, Bas Husslage, Clementine Sandison, Alex Wilde, MMSU Rijeka, Urban Roots, Kino Rijeka, Musas Porto, Cooperativa Dos Pedreiros Porto, and many others.
Spajalica: Daniele Sambo, SOWN, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka, 2013
by Jonathan Middleton
The New Glasgow Society
“Stand unshod upon it, for the ground is holy, being even as it came from the Creator. Keep it, guard it, care for it, for it keeps men, guards men, cares for men. Destroy it and manis destroyed.” (1)
Scotland, land of the Scot, its soil and rock hallowed by a people. Sacred soil and venerable rock whence this nation was borne. This is a land, lush and verdant; host to crop and livestock, heather and ruddy peat. Surveying all this we must know it is that same soil which is the very source of this great fecundity, and that is not all: be it Prometheus’ rst man modelled from clay and water or Adam from the dust of the ground, we surmise that we, too, are of the earth - our rst dwellings the womb and the cave. Indeed, it is to the ground that we must return, our burial reaf rming our kinship with the soil. (2)
To ancient soil and rock we must transfer in order to site the birth of the Scots. A little north of Lochgilphead in the reaches of Kilmartin, there lies a craggy hillock, Dunadd, its peak a double- mound. This was the bosom on which a edgling nation suckled.
This was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Dalriada, founded by Fergus Mór mac Eirc, the legendary Irish king, who had made his way to Argyll (Ar-gael meaning eastern-Irish) across the faem in about ad 500. Indeed Scoti or Scotti was the generic name given by the Romans to the migrating, maritime Irish. The three sons
of Fergus who had also come across from Ireland’s Dál’Riata gave their names to the three tribes of the lands of Dalriada: thesewere the Cenel Loairn in the northern parts of Argyll, the Cenel nOengusa, mainly on the isle of Islay, and the Cenel nGabrain down in the southern parts of the peninsula. It was from one of these 3 tribes that the high king of Dalriada, the Ruiri, was chosen.
Four defensive lines of wall protected the summit of that nuclear hill-fort Dunadd. Atop the hill, there are three sacral rocks, each one carved: a hollowed-out basin; the depiction of a boar, now worn and faint; and the imprint of a foot. Although we cannot know for sure their purpose, our comprehension obscured through the murky annals of time, the theory is that during inauguration, as over-king stood with one foot in stone-inscribed print, all the local chiefs would bring soil from each their own land and place it in the carved basin, thus signifying that they pledged their territory and allegiance to the kingdom.By the ninth century, the ruling-house of Dalriada would eventually nd itself inheritor of all Caledonia - by prominent marriage, treachery and war. Cenned (Kenneth) Mac Alpin, not only succeeded in seizing power of all Pictland, but introduceda hereditary monarchy to rule the Picts and Scots as one. This amalgamation was underscored in the most emphatic and monumental manner when Kenneth Mac Alpin, Lord of Kintyre, brought not soil but stone from his western seat in Dalriada to have placed in the church at Scone for his own inauguration, this stone, no less, the famed Stone of Destiny.Thus the nation that we know was born, rooted in its land on a foundation of soil and rock. (3)
Scotland is a people rightly proud of its land and heritage. There is a common sense of ownership, which is reinforced by the so-called right to roam: the Scot will be told by no Sassenach laird where he can or can’t go. Famously, the monarch is Queen of the Scots, not Queen of Scotland. However, there is a discrepancy between this sense of ownership and the actual facts of ownership: roughly half of Scotland is owned by just 500 people, few of them Scots. Nevertheless, times are changing: Alastair McIntosh’s book, Soil and Soul, outlines the victory of the beleaguered residents
of Eigg, becoming the rst community to clear their laird from his own estate. With Holyrood’s Land Reform Act of 2003 it has become easier for communities to take ownership of their land: now about 1 per cent of Scotland’s 19 million acres of land has passed into the hands of its communities ranging from small forests to islands.
With this collective ownership (actual or perceived) comes the responsibility of stewardship; stewardship of the land and stewardship of our built environment. This is a responsibilitythat we must all commit to; politicians, planners, architects, communities and individuals. In Glasgow, we can be especially proud of our heritage, that great Victorian grid interspersed with grand public parks and spread out across drumlin eld; those mounds of earth and glacial debris that give us Dowanhill, Partick Hill, Garnethill, Hillhead, Woodlands Hill, Maryhill, Blythswood Hill and many others. A former industrial powerhouse, Glasgow can be proud of its many community ventures, the Govanhill Baths Community Trust and the Woodlands Community Gardens being just two notable examples. Glasgow can also be gratefulto independent bodies such as the New Glasgow Society whose members’ collective endeavour, wisdom and voice ensure the positive stewardship of its city.
Daniele Sambo is an Italian artist based in Scotland whose primary medium has hitherto been photography. With an outsider’s fresh perspective, he has sought out pockets of land within Glasgow, some of them hidden, others more public. His project transposes light installations into these spaces that make us think afresh the relationship to our land and its stewardship. Light being the great fertiliser, Sown provides a catalyst for the fertile soil of our minds.
(1) Alan Paton Cry The Beloved Country.
(2) Andrew Ballantyne A Face in the Cloud.
(3) Norman Davies The Isles, A History.
Glasgow Harvest 2011
Daniele Sambo’s new work Sown offers a mapping of the social phenomenon of urban food growing in Glasgow. His photographs point to the connections between the network of community gardens and at the same time show each one’s uniqueness. These empty nocturnal gardens are animated by light alluding to the resources that go into them and also come out. People give their energy to cultivating the garden and it returns that energy in the form of physical and spiritual sustenance.
Sown is presented in association with nva’s Glasgow Harvest 2011, a celebration of local food being hosted by community gardens in the South, East, North and West of the city. Glasgow Harvest seeks to draw together the realms of food growing, sustainable design and socially engaged arts practice within the speci c urban context of community gardens and allotments. An irreverent homage to the village fête centred on the Harvest Meal, each celebration features commissioned art work, bespoke design, renewable energy, live music, communal cooking, food sharing, workshops and competitions.
Sown can be viewed in the context of a recent surge of activity to expand and support local food growing, from food sharing celebrations like nva’s Glasgow Harvest and Blasda (Scotland’s Local Food Feast, initiated by the Fife Diet), to sage (Sow and Grow Everywhere) which is bringing food production to derelict, vacant or temporary space.
These projects all share a similar ideal, which in the words of Nourish (Scotland’s Local Food Network) is to ‘produce more of what we eat, and eat more of what we produce’. On a global scale, communities are increasingly adopting the Transition Town model of collective action to prepare for a low carbon future by addressing climate change and peak oil. One of the ways to do this is through a focus on sustainable local food production. Glasgow Transition Support is presenting a series of workshops at the Harvest events and Nourish conference, exploring ideas about how we can develop a more connected and resilient food system for Glasgow.
Sown offers an insight into the ways artists can harness the energy of the community food growing movement, in order to instigate a much needed cultural shift in our relationship to food, and ultimately, how we produce, distribute and consume it.