DOWSER Issue 5 (Summer 2021) comprises a new work of autofiction, _BEATING_, by curator and writer Seán Elder. Departing from memories of seasonal labour as a grouse beater in the North East of Scotland, Elder turns to the recent work of Glasgow-based artist Charlotte Prodger, who grew up in the same area, to communicate an intimate set of relations between queerness, class and the landscape of Roinn a’ Mhonaidh.
He remembers late-night viewings of Prodger’s trilogy of single-screen works: Stoneymollan Trail (2015), BRIDGIT (2016), and SaF05 (2019). Taking their namesakes—an historic coffin road on the west coast, a Neolithic feminine deity, and the last maned lioness documented in the Okavango Delta—as symbolic cores, each is orbited by fragments of autobiography, quotation and myth in the form of voice and image. Writing through them, Elder offers a potent counter to enduring artistic representations of Scotland’s northern landscape of moors and glens as a romantic, elemental or empty expanse.
The issue is illustrated with stills from each of these three works, courtesy of the artist, Kendall Koppe, Glasgow, and Hollybush Gardens, London. Issue 5 has been made possible with the support of the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities’ Engagement Funding.