Fraser MacBeath

Mar gum biodh an teine air do chraiceann (As if the fire were on your skin)

Stools sit in the foreground of a video projection in a small viewing room

Fraser MacBeath is an audio-visual artist from the Isle of Lewis. Using the mediums of sound, film, and installation, Fraser creates work that combines elements of sound art and ambient music with abstract film and physical environments.

His work focuses on themes of memory, culture, sociological issues, and the relationship between tradition and modernity. MacBeath’s work often centres around his home in the Outer Hebrides and attempts to contemporise the often archaic view of rural Scotland.

This work is a reflection on what it means to live a rural existence - a life characterised by a deep bond with nature; an endless balancing act between appreciating its beauty and bounty, and sheltering from its ambivalent brutality. For most of human history this relationship was mediated by the campfire, the centre of this piece, as it was the traditional centre of rural life. Warm by the fire, we were given the respite to reflect on our relationship with nature and each other, and from this all manner of prose, poetry, song, and comfort emerged. In Scotland, where so much of our cultural output and history speaks to an embodiment of nature, one could argue that it was by the fire that we found our identity.

When populations are sparse and nature unforgiving, these bonds of community become vital for survival. But the fire also gave rise to something greater than survival - we started to dream. This piece invites the spectator to sit by the campfire and experience these dreams again. To feel that same reverence for nature embodied by our oral tradition, that our rural ancestors would have felt time and again, here in the warm glow of life itself.

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