Eden is a place in which nothing is supposed to change, a steady-state ecosystem without history. Rebecca Solnit
‘Opposing Eden’ is an idea that evolved through four artists from Estonia and Scotland coming together to explore a shared interest in moving image,narrative forms and landscape. Working initially in two seaside locations at Kasmu, east of Tallin, and Arisaig on the west coast of Highland Scotland the artists talked, looked at films, filmed, recorded sound and edited first footage. Methodologies in collaborative practice were discussed and enacted, egos were set aside to aim at common outcomes. Breaking with the traditional linear structures of film practice, discussion evolved around finding a formal visual and aural language that could work with and across time, conveying pre-linquistic visual engagement and ideas rather than meaning. Formally, juxtapositions and interruptions, re-arranging content, viewers choice, location and subjectivity were all considered. From a wealth of potential content the group chose to be limited to their own presence within the chosen landscape. Re-enacting personal experience, imaginative positions and visual potential to expose the social and personal positions of experiencing Eden.
Ongoing through the project was the discussion about the definition of Eden. A perfect place of unchanging certainty which is forever outside our grasp yet which seems to forever set the goals of modern life. An unattainable dream which lies around every corner, over every hill, on the other side of every fence. Social and personal aspiration has become one with the unrealised dream of nature as a perfect place, the anti-dote to the terrors of modern urban jungle.
At the conclusion of the residencies we found an outcome for the project which was both generous and responsive to the fact that our geographic locations made further collaboration difficult. Each artist gave their personal footage, both raw and edited, to the other participants and each agreed that this could be used in any way the recipient should choose with the caveat that any public showing of the work should always include reference to the project and other participants.
In 2013 the Estonian artists presented our combined work in an installation in the exhibition ‘ Aedade järelelu’ (Afterlife of Gardens) at Kumu the Art Museum of Estonia.