Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A scarred landscape in rural Scotland has
become a grassy multiverse now open for exploration.
Open-pit coal mining has turned parts of rural Scotland
into desolate, denuded eyesores.
The collapse of the industry and the ensuing economic downturn has also made
it hard for local governments to justify spending millions to redevelop these
In such cases, it helps if the site is owned by Richard Scott, the tenth Duke
of Buccleuch, because he might just call on one of his land-art buddies to
turn it into a modern-day Stonehenge, and foot the bill himself.
Which is exactly what he did to create the just-opened Crawick Multiverse, a
55-acre land-art park outside the town of Sanquhar, designed by artist and
landscape architect Charles Jencks.
Jencks creates land art with a cosmological bent that fits nicely with the
's prehistoric standing-stone arrangements, many of which are believed
to have functioned as astronomical calendars.
At the Crawick Multiverse, Jencks took a pair of hills created when polluted
earth was removed from the site and sculpted them with spiraling paths,
representing the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies.
There's also a "comet walk," and a "supercluster" of triangular
mounds, and a mudstone path carved with figures representing different
theoretical arrangements of the universe, all decorated with some 2,000
boulders found on the site.
"This former open cast coal site, nestled in a bowl of large rolling
hills, never did produce enough black gold to keep digging.
But it did, accidentally, create the bones of a marvelous ecology," says
"The Multiverse celebrates the surrounding Scottish countryside and its
landmarks, looking outwards and back in time to present a difference view of
the situation we are in.
Its view is much more open than, say, that of a clockwork universe, and much
more interesting—a different sort of landscape.
" Jencks worked with
the ridges and furrows of the mining site, rather than completely reshaping
them, so in a sense, his work is a kind of post-industrial found art.
One pragmatic benefit of working this way is the money you save on
Construction began in 2012, and by the time it wrapped up, it had only set
Smith back a reported £1M.
Which is a bargain, as he points out, in today's art market.
Charles Jencks
Charles Jencks
Charles Jencks
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Turning Up the Heat A Scottish duke transformed this abandoned coal
mine into the Crawick Multiverse land-art park, now open for exploration.

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