The Thinking Boat


The Hill of Alyth – the largest commonty (area of common land) still in existence in Scotland – has broken away from the British Isles and is floating freely as The Thinking Boat. It becomes a forum for exchanges through a variety of workshops involving the community of the east Perthshire town of Alyth. The exhibition proposed situating Scotland as a laboratory of the future and attempt to untangle lines of public and private interests, exploring the creation of firmly rooted places that are more equitable, healthy, sustainable, and thriving.

Looking back to a time before Scotland’s extensive and diverse forms of common land were appropriated and absorbed by powerful landed interests, an increasing number of both urban and rural communities have become directly involved in the ownership of land or assets. On-site workshops were proposed involving the local community and Scotland-based artists, architects, ecologists, geologists, makers, writers, poets and musicians.

These collective stories, materials & artefacts of place – the lie of the land and speculation on Scotland’s future at detailed, local, regional and national scales – were then to be presented in Venice in the form of The Thinking Boat.

Scotland+Venice Entry, for 2023 Biennale, w/ Maich Swift & George Finlay Ramsay.