‘Grey to Blue: Ecological Entanglements’ at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Grey to Blue: Ecological Entanglements

Detail of Pawpaw | Dark Flower Scarab Beetle sculptural installation, 2019. Image: Kenny Lam.

Earlier this year, ASN graduate Yulia Kovanova took part at the Edinburgh Art Festival, presenting a new body of work ‘Grey to Blue: Ecological Entanglements’. The exhibition was hosted by the Tent Gallery and the Edinburgh College of Art, the University of Edinburgh.

Through an investigation of ecological interactions, Grey to Blue focuses on the exploration of colour and its spatio-temporal dynamics, to reconsider perceptual boundaries, looking at how spaces are shared with human and nonhuman.  Each artwork explores the in-betweenness of things and how seemingly separate objects, bodies and phenomena relate. 

A series of abstract interactions are presented through sculptural, photographic, moving image and sound based works, drawing attention to the role of colour in the living world, while highlighting ecological loss and absence. 

“Our world is a web of intricate relationships and interactions – some easily accessible to human senses and some less so. It is those very delicate relationships that Grey to Blue takes as its focus.” — Yulia Kovanova

Taking inspiration from the natural world, the work looks at how different organisms interact with their environment, and questions the place of humans within their surroundings.

Yulia Kovanova, Red Silky Oak | Swallow-tailed Hummingbird installation, 2019. Image: Kenny Lam.

A sculptural installation comprising of thin multi-coloured wooden rods [above] looks at the interaction of a hummingbird and its flower as the bird enters the flower to drink nectar. The coloured lines representing the flower interpenetrate the colours of the hummingbird, creating one spatial experience. The audience can walk through the piece, thereby entering the hummingbird-flower experience.

Avocado | Giant Sloth installation, sound

Avocado | Giant Sloth installation, sound, 2019. Image: Kenny Lam.

A pile of real soil spanning almost six metres is studded with casts of avocado stones of different shapes and sizes. The sculptures are absolutely white; their hue is missing – reflecting the extinct large mammals who would swallow and distribute the avocado stones. Those animals are long gone, yet the fruit hasn’t caught up to this reality, and continues to call for its lost partners.  Sound piece by Lars Koens.

Avocado - Giant Sloth - Yulia Kovanova - 2019 - Image by Michal Jesionowski

Further element of Avocado | Giant Sloth installation, 2019. Image by Michal Jesionowski

As the hue left the avocado pits, the actual avocado dye became one of the components of the three plaster casts, presented next to the soil. This piece shows the various shades that can be derived from avocado dye. With the giant mammals gone, it is the role of the human as a surrogate to continue the work of helping these plants disseminate.

Purple Coneflower | Rusty Patched Bumble Bee installation, sound 2019

Purple Coneflower | Rusty Patched Bumble Bee installation, sound 2019. Image: Kenny Lam.

Developed in collaboration with light programmer Siyao Zhou, the ‘Purple Coneflower | Rusty Patched Bumble Bee’ installation explores relationships between bees and flowers. The lights are mapped to a bee’s movement, lit with the colour that of the flower, so the piece creates an experience of a bee-flower, as one entity – alive only in coexistence. Sound piece by Lars Koens.

Detail of Mango | Stegomastodon instant image installation, sound 2019

Detail of Mango | Stegomastodon instant image installation, sound 2019. Image: Kieran Gosney.

A mango ages from unripe to spoilt in a progression of instant photographs that trail to the floor, much like the fall of a mango from its tree to where it will lie uneaten by its extinct evolutionary companion, the Stegomastodon. Thousands of years ago this great giant swallowed the entire fruit with its pit, helping the plant to disseminate. With the animal now extinct, the fruit continues to appeal to its ghost of a giant.

Detail of Red Silky Oak | Swallow-tailed Hummingbird installation, sound 2019.

Detail of Red Silky Oak | Swallow-tailed Hummingbird installation, sound, 2019. Image: Kenny Lam.

The Red Silky Oak | Swallow-tailed Hummingbird installation is comprised of a blurred video of a brightly coloured hummingbird and a flower projected onto an imposing fractured ‘screen’ made of suspended paper tubes, along with a sound piece by Lars Koens that carries the audience through the columns.

The exhibition is supported by the University of Edinburgh and Hope Scott Trust.


Following Applied Earth Science and Landscape Architecture studies and having worked with geological engineering and landscape architectural consultancies in California, USA, Mark Eischeid joined Art, Space & Nature MFA programme at the Edinburgh College of Art, the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 2015. During his time on the ASN programme, Mark was artist in residence at the Queen’s Medical Research Institute.

Here Mark talks about what brought him to join the course, his experience at ASN and his career developments following the course.


Coming from the background in music, photography, and design, Patrick  M. Lydon undertook ASN course, graduating with honours in 2014. Here he shares his experiences of the course and what he’s been up to since he graduated.

Patrick’s practice ignites dialogues at the intersection of culture and ecology. Each work that he undertakes brings viewers and participants opportunities to permeate the natural world in different ways. His projects often combine traditional aesthetics, ecological immersion, and public activities. Each project is informed by ongoing social and ecological field studies in cultures and spaces around this earth. This often results in projects involving diverse casts of people from farmers to urban planners to educators. In the end, Patrick’s practice is ultimately about cultivating new relationships — both with other humans and with nature — and seeing what these relationships can contribute to our view.

Patrick has shown work and produced collaborative projects in North America, Europe, and Asia. A good bit of his practice involves writing and curating content for a collective of social explorers, writers, and artists, called SocieCity. He serves as the ‘Arts and Events Editor’ for Nature of Cities, and is a contributing writer to Arts Everywhere, Sustainable Cities Collective, Resilience.

ASN graduate, Erin Gleason curates ‘Tympanum’, a group exhibition, for Art Shape Mammoth at Wayfarers in Brooklyn, New York



Wayfarers, Brooklyn NY

Opening Reception: October 6, 2017, 6-8pm

On view through October 22, 2017

Artist Talk and Q&A: October 22, 2017, 4-6pm


Tympanum brings together eight artists whose work examines the interface between the inner life and the outside world of the other through the membrane of the body. Presented by Art Shape Mammoth and curated by Erin Gleason, this exhibition at Wayfarers will be on view October 6-22, 2017. The opening reception is Friday, October 6 from 6-8pm, and an Artists Talk and Q&A will be held on Sunday, October 22 from 4-6pm. Wayfarers is located at 1109 Dekalb Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY 11221.

Artists Wendy Copp, Zachary Fabri, Leslie Fry, Paul Higham, Vishnu Seesahai, Sandra Stephens, Julie Ward, and Lindsey Wolkowicz all address the body as a tympanum between the outside world and our inner lives through the lenses of identity, technology, architecture, nature, and psychology. The tympanum, a thin, transparent membrane that separates the auditory canal from the middle ear, is obliquely stretched. As Jacques Derrida describes in his 1972 essay, “Tympan,” the tympanum also “squints,” separating the inner and outer world and determining the limits and truth of either side in direct proportion to its obliqueness. Through their works, these artists offer us the opportunity to squint, unlocking the double understanding of the membrane and unbalancing the pressures that correspond to either side.

Art Shape Mammoth is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to connecting artists to new communities and supporting the development of artistic practice, dialogue, education, and research through creative public exchange. More information at artshapemammoth.org, or contact info@artshapemammoth.org

ASN Graduate Premieres Film at the EIFF 2017

This summer recent Art, Space & Nature graduate Yulia Kovanova’s film premiered at the world-renowned Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017.

Plastic Man – an environmental artist short film – explores the issues of environmental degradation, nature’s resilience and its transformative power. The main character is a bizarre, outlandish figure dressed in plastic, who commits acts against Nature, challenging the very idea of Nature. The film is an attempt to visualise Anthropocene – a geological age where human activity is the dominant influence on the planet, its climate and the environment.

The project has been created through the Scottish Documentary Institute Bridging the Gap initiative, which is one of the leading documentary new talent initiatives in the UK. Following a three months period of intensive workshops and a competitive pitching process, the project made it into the final alongside six other films from across the UK and received funding through Creative Scotland.

The films produced through Bridging the Gap to date have enabled the filmmakers to take successful first steps in the industry; receiving festival awards, BAFTAs, special mentions, as well as screenings at festivals in over 60 countries world-wide.

a leaf, a dream

Yulia and Yurika had never met before, and they wouldn’t ever have if they had different names, looks, or chosen occupations. Yet, the similar sounding names, similar body build and similar occupation was enough of a premise for them to be introduced through a collaborative art project.

They agreed to monitor transformations during this period of seasonal change in Scotland and in Japan: over the last few weeks Yulia has been gathering fallen leaves, while at the same time Yurika has been gathering her dreams. Yulia covers each leaf with golden paint, Yurika draws images of what she had seen in her dreams. The exhibition will evolve as both keep adding new dreams and new leaves.

The exhibitions run simultaneously from the 21st November 2016 in Tent Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland and in Container Gallery, U8 Projects in Komaki, Japan.


Container Gallery, U8 Projects view:

Container Gallery, Komaki, Japan


Tent Gallery view:

Tent Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

ECA’s ASN Graduates at Aichi Triennale 2016, Nagoya, Japan

ECA’s Art, Space & Nature Masters graduates (2016) Yulia Kovanova and Olivia Tutton are collaborating on a multi-media art installation for one of Japan’s most prestigious art events Aichi Triennale 2016.

Oasis 21

Oasis 21, Nagoya, Japan

TONN (meaning ‘wave’ in Scottish Gaelic) is a light, sound and poetry installation in the city centre of Nagoya, Japan, at the Oasis 21 transport interchange.

The piece brings the experience of Scottish waves translated through the movement of light, poetry and sound, to create a performance that injects natural dynamics into this hi-tech urban structure.

This performance is realised through partnership between The Aichi University of the Arts (AUA), Nagoya, and Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), The University of Edinburgh, as a partnership project of Aichi Triennnale 2016 and with support through UNESCO as a cultural exchange between UNESCO Creative Cities for the cities of Nagoya, Japan and Edinburgh, Scotland. Performed on 19th October, 2016  as part of live ‘PIANO TRIGGER’ event, TONN is a public installation where lights on Oasis 21 follow the natural waveforms of the Scottish oceanic waves with poem written into the visuals and sound broadcasted onto the streets of central Nagoya.

The world’s oceanic body, covering the majority of the Earth’s surface, links the two lands. A ripple on the surface of the ocean is the motion of the entire ocean. Similarly, a wave experienced off the shore of Scotland resonates on the Japanese islands. It might be imperceivable immediately through the limited human senses, yet holds beautifully on the delicate fabric of the planet.


Invited by Isao Suiz (director) and Ikumasa Hayashi (coordinator), the Scottish part of the performance (TONN) is realised by artists Yulia Kovanova (concept and visual part), Olivia Tutton (poetry), with translation into Japanese by Kohei Sakamoto and Catriona AndersonLars Koens (sound) and Pete Smith (sound recording). Japanese collaborators include Okuto Inoue (PIANO TRIGGER sound performance) and Yuga Noro (system architect and composer).

Lecturer Ross Mclean, who is the coordinator of the MMU between Edinburgh College of Art and Aichi University of the Arts, sees the project as an excellent demonstration of collaborative opportunity built through long term engagement between the two institutions, while working in partnership with UNESCO and Aichi Triennale 2016.

Indulgent, giggling with diamonds in each ear
Draped heavy over sculpted arms
Bells on ankles

I see myself
Framed in your many mirrors

Trace me with your shivers
Rain your glitter
To drown me

O, love, pearly splendour
Never far from thunder
The white blanket of pain
Dulls your diamonds, leaves a stain

Sapphire spheres you hurl high
Foreseen yet so curdling –
Shatter through perfection

Rage rage, never show your face
Body stands tall,
Melancholy flung overs shoulders

You bully –
Running, tripping, slipping
Suspense steals my breath…

I glow
To shake your quest

I bestow
Scarlet fury eyes
Hum, allow me to cradle

Envelope this weakened body
Collecting your scatters, tucking in your lengthy limbs
Ruby heart hangs heavy
















ASN graduate’s work featured by Seattle Architecture Foundation

MFA recent graduate Javier Vidal Aguilera has been selected to participate in the Seattle Architecture Foundation’s 2014 Annual Model exhibit. The work featured will be documentation of the project “Dwelling in the Moorlands,” an architectural project featured in Tent Gallery this past April.

The exhibition will run from September 12 – October 3 2014.

1333 Fifth Avenue, Suite 300
Seattle, WA  98101

ASN Graduate Awarded Robert Callender Residency

RCIRYAMFA graduate Patrick Lydon has been awarded the Robert Callender International Residency for Young Artists.

The residency, established in the spirit of the late Robert Callender, is split into two sections over a span of two years, including a summer month to live and work in Osaka, Japan (2015) at Contemporary Art Space Osaka; and a further summer month to live/work in Sea Loft studio on the Fife coastline (2016).

Patrick joins artist Joseph Calleja as the second ASN graduate to have been awarded the residency.