Deep Time Festival

The Deep Time Festival took place over three days from 21 to 23 April 2017 at The Pier Arts Centre, and in and around Stromness. A series of events, walks and an open studio exhibition brought together our reflections on the human experience of Deep Time from a range of artistic, scientific, humanities and social and human science perspectives. The accompanying open studio exhibition, Walking the Sound, by Anne Bevan ran from Saturday, April 22 to Saturday, June 10 2017.

You’ll find information about the Festival activities below.

Festival Brochure

Traversing the Sound – Public Walk 

Three people inspecting rocks

Silvering a Rock on the West Shore

The West Shore at Stromness, was the focus of the open studio exhibition, and some of our interdisciplinary work, including the public walk. The site was selected by project artist, Anne Bevan, for its personal and local familiarity, and its potential for looking anew at the everyday as a deep time environment. This familiar landscape provides a palimpsest of human, geological, archaeological and environmental records. Human agency is evident in this landscape: energy generation, concrete sea defences, wartime archaeology, the remains of a bathing shelter, as well as the linguistic marks left by graffiti and local literary representation. This activity is inscribed across the deeper time of the local geology from the ancient formation of the granite bedrock, stromatolites, and fish beds of Lake Orcadie, to more recent efforts to release energy from Uranium, or the sea itself.

A person measuring a wall

Measuring for a Cross-Section of Anthropocene Geology

We walked the route several times, drawing on material from the Orkney archives, museum, palaeo-environmental and archaeological records, as well as the expertise of local geologists, archaeologists, artists, writers, biologists and heritage professionals, many of whom accompanied us on the final public walk. Particular thanks go to John Brown (geologist), Andy Hollinrake (Ness Battery), Jane Downes (UHI archaeology), Carol Dunbar (The Pier), and Anne Bevan (project artist).

We made notebooks for each of the walk participants including a map, cross-section drawing, and various images about each stop on the walk that we had gathered during our research work. There was space for walkers to record their own thoughts about deep time. At each stop a project team member spoke for a minute or two about the time-depth of the landscape feature, and participants were also invited to take part in activities on the Tender Tables. The walk culminated in a geological sonification at the Ness Battery.

Walk Notebook