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project overview

“One comes to know oneself, imaginatively, as part of nature; and nature is understood to have a dignity quite apart from its susceptibility to human control”


David Bromwich (“Natural Piety and Human Responsibility”)

The Deep is a still and moving image installation focused on the rich and coveted geologies of the Scottish Highlands and its communities. Interrogating the dynamics of power, enrichment and impoverishment that underpin conceptions of freedom and agency in our profit-driven societies, The Deep poetically addresses the impacts of human action, such as drilling for oil, on other beings, the earth and its atmospherics.

The Deep interrogates the ethical place of the human towards conceiving a sustainable future. How can we see the world afresh and reposition ourselves humbly in our relations to ourselves, other beings and the earth? By what means can we configure a moving image capable of attuning us more deeply to the urgent plight of the survival of our world?

By cultivating a sense of who we are and taking things and beings for what they are – in their and our irreducible existing – we can prepare for thoughtful intervention on the social, political and economic structures that today determine the life of our planet: waters, geology, vegetation and the air we breathe.

Work in progress.

Themes and concepts 

• the earth's integrity

• our seeing of and positioning before nature

• care and humility

• depletion and precarity

• force, vitality, richness

• climate change and 'natural' destruction (sea, air, earth, atmosphere)

• a child's encounter with nature

• natural resource extraction (water, mineral, plant)

• geological being: deep time 

Aesthetic enquiry

• light and darkness

• framing

• scale

• point of view

• imaging 

• representation


The findings on each research strand are presented across the 13 thematised pages (or rooms) of the R&D repository, via images, videos, artist texts, collected references, annotations, and artworks. (see THE DEEP STUDIO MENU) 

Images: The Deep stills series, digital preview scans from medium format film. Featuring: maintenance rig for oil extraction platforms berthed in the Cromarty Firth, Anna at home, and the Plockton woodland, Scottish Highlands. © Isabel Rocamora, 2022.

Research and development for The Deep has been completed. Funded by: Creative Scotland, in partnership with Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre. Photographic post-production at Metro Imaging London. The artist thanks Robin HaigMalcolm Mackenzie, Isabel McLeish and Plockton Primary School. With gratitude to Edinburgh University, The Tàpies Foundation and Pompeu Fabra University for access to research resources. Production is planned for 2024.

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