Artists’ interview: Four hundred in a frame

Blog post by Laura Brown, Social Media Manager at RoS.

To celebrate 400 years of land registration in Scotland, we’ve commissioned a unique piece of public art which symbolises our rich history. We catch up with artists Cristina and Susanna, whose agency Bright Side Studios won the open competition to design this astounding piece.

Hi Cristina and Susanna! First off, tell us why you were inspired to produce art to celebrate our 400-year anniversary?

Cristina: ‘We were really interested in the history of the organisation. There was a story to be told there which seemed significant and important, and we felt it would be an honour to produce the artwork for the anniversary.’

Susanna & Cristina in the atrium, where their artwork is installed

Can you talk us through your creative process?

Cristina: ‘Initially we came up with a couple of concepts, with the main theme being to capture the human element of the Register of Sasines over the centuries. That’s why we decided we wanted to create a map of Scotland with all these layered slats, reminding us of the pages of a register that were handwritten, typed or scored out…

It’s a very human artefact. Another big drive for us was using the beautiful light and space in the atrium to inject some colour into that part of Meadowbank House.’

Image courtesy of Bright Side Studios

So you’ve got your idea. How did you go about researching?

Cristina: ‘This stage was very collaborative. After visiting the Registers of Scotland and presenting several different designs and styles, the concept was signed off and the colours selected. There was then a long process of finding the actual pieces – you could call it a treasure hunt! – in the registers to discover these amazing nuggets of hand-written copy or numbers; things that really expressed that human quality.’

Image courtesy of Bright Side Studios

The next stage is fabrication. Can you tell us a bit about that process?

Susanna: ‘It’s very formulaic, because there are so many pieces of different lengths with different information. We’ve broken the register down into a timeline of 40 pieces, which gives us 145 different slats.’

Cristina: ‘We’re using a steel metal frame, then metal wire to suspend the acrylic plates, and finally coloured acetate between these which contain the registers typography. The framework needs to go in and then all 145 pieces need to be perfectly strung to form the map. So that’s the next painstaking step!’

Susanna: ‘Everything has to be perfect, so this last stage has been very intense.’

Image courtesy of Bright Side Studios

What do you hope the artwork will convey to those who see it, either daily or as a visitor?

Cristina: ‘We see it as a modern take on a stained glass window. We feel it’s got that same sense of beauty and celebration as stained glass, so hopefully it’s inspiring and adds colour to people’s day!’

Susanna: ‘Depending on the light it’s going to be constantly changing, which gives it a really beautiful quality. For example, if you walk into Meadowbank House in the morning, your experience of the artwork will be very different to when you leave, because the angle you’re viewing it from has changed.’

Cristina: ‘It’s a piece that won’t grow old. Every time you pass it, you should notice something different. It really is a celebratory artwork of the Registers of Scotland’s amazing history which has so much depth.’

Image courtesy of Bright Side Studios

Want to see the artwork for yourself?

Like our registers, the artwork is publically available to view for the people of Scotland. Find details here about visiting us at Meadowbank House.

Follow the team via @RegistersOfScot on Twitter and on FacebookLinkedIn and YouTube for more updates. Want to comment? Let us know below!

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