Tiny Geographies by Chris Dooks

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Artist Chris Dooks has worked in 4 key locations, producing 4 short films of each area for Atomic Doric http://www.woodendbarn.com/atomic-doric/. He has interviewed different people who connect with the places – young nature groups, walkers, rangers etc – recording sounds, photographing and filming with them.

Tiny Geographies has created several hours of material including interviews and photographs, field recordings and more. Watch the trailer here:

The film premieres Friday 29 November 2013, 7:30pm at Woodend Barn with support from Edinburgh’s Drew Wright aka Wounded Knee.

Morag McFarclane (69) author of idiosyncratic text ‘The Aberdeenshire Field Book of The Exhausted Artist’ [Wodebooks 1971] writes in the written programme which accompanies this film:

This short trailer previews artist Chris Dooks’ [near feature-length] Year of Natural Scotland commission “Tiny Geographies” – a project managed by Woodend Barn in Banchory, Aberdeenshire as part of the ‘Atomic Doric’ season of commissioned works by artists and musicians.

The experimental ethos of the film was to ascertain to what degree could diverse audiovisual footage be gathered from several accessible environments just a few square metres in size. These ‘tiny’ geographies were made to see if there was any advantage to being unable to scale a ‘Munro’ or even a small hill – and try and make the best of out limited energy.

Using DSLR-sourced montages alongside the latest fangled GoPro camcorder [shooting at high speed], with microphones and hydrophones, Dooks employs the technology as friend of the ‘exhausted practitioner’ to spy, scope-out and mine the environment without touching it – or as Chris says ‘the only thing I like to shoot a deer with, is a Nikon lens.’

Inspired by photographer David Liittschwager’s ‘One Cubic Foot’ nature project (see tinyurl.com/onecubic) – the project is about depth over breadth and results in neither a ‘disability’ project nor a film about the extremes of exploring the wilderness. It’s about everyday people and everyday landscapes, but once peered into, there’s nothing everyday about either.

Over two months, digital montages of the areas were shot to a soundtrack sourced from over forty interviews with the public across national parks, reserves and estates in Aberdeenshire. Questions were asked of willing interviewees to use their answers as musical and regional source material. This large degree of public engagement has resulted in a work resembling something between a kind of sensory documentary and a suite or ‘movements’ akin to seasonal changes in the environment or a kind of extended overture to a particular (even peculiar) slice of Scotland.

A thin sliver of Chris’s personal life also makes it into the final cut not just because of the ease of clearing images of people and woodland wanderers, but also because this is not a cold ethnographic study of accents and hills.

Five areas were chosen, each a few miles from each other (and one fifty miles further) where the different technologies are part of this beautifully strange world.

The film was shot primarily over Aberdeenshire; Glen Tanar Estate near Aboyne, The Linn of Quioch near Braemar, Tomnaverie Stone Circle near Tarland, Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve near Dinnet and St Cyrus National Nature Reserve near Montrose.


Creative Scotland

Aberdeenshire Council: Be Part of the Picture

Visit Scotland

Project managed by Woodend Barn, Banchory

with support from Discover Royal Deeside and Cairngorms



from December 2013




All material © Chris Dooks 2013

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