Quavering Tongues / Teangannan air Crith, 2023, Credit  Rutger Emmelkamp (1)

Rutger Emmelkamp / KNOCKvologan VACMA

In 2023, Rutger Emmelkamp from KNOCKvologan was awarded the Visual Artist and Craft Makers Award, Argyll and Bute. Since then, Rutger has been working to develop a new exhibition with Miek Zwamborn, Quavering Tongues / Teangannan air Crith, which opened its doors to the public last week (19 August 2023) at An Tobar and Mull Theatre. Find out all about the development of this new work in a special piece written by the artists! 


"In our exhibition Quavering Tongues / Teangannan air Crith, we delve into the concept that a natural environment is a culture-generating mesh of entanglements. Through multiple disciplines and sensory techniques, we carefully attune ourselves to the delicate intricacies of the land, sea, and their inhabitants—both from the past and the present. In doing so, we uncover hidden motives that inspire speculative scenarios for a future where we acknowledge the complex and symbiotic relationships that exist between the natural world and us.

The installation zooms in on the northern flank of Torr Fada, a densely wooded slope with remnants of the now rare Celtic rainforest and ruins of the many villages on Mull. The poor soil provided the Gaelic-speaking population with a breeding ground from which a rich culture could develop. This culture, dating back far before the Bronze Age, along with the flora and fauna, has been deliberately destroyed since around 1750 (Highland Clearances) and has largely disappeared. This traumatic void raises questions about how newcomers to the island might relate to this area and its complex issues. In this installation, which is part of a multi-year, multi-voiced research project, we aim to highlight this landscape in all its contradictions. Behind Quavering Tongues / Teangannan air Crith lies the idea that humus, peat, sand, clay, and rock are culture-generating substances and that the local soil composition can aid in filling this resulting void.

For this exhibition, we commissioned composer Rufus Isabel Elliot for two pieces: one in response to a photograph and the other a spatial work. Thanks to VACMA funding, we were able to invite Graham Eatough, a Glasgow-based playwright, to help with the storyline of the film Birch/ Beithe.

The exhibition remains a work in progress, and there are several "Alongside Artist Days" scheduled during which we will be working on the exhibition. As part of the exhibition, there will be a cyanotype workshop by Juanita Schleapfer-Miller, our next artist-in-residence.”

- Rutger Emmelkamp and Miek Zwamborn

Quavering Tongues / Teangannan air Crith is open from 19 August to 29 October 2023

To find out times of events and more information, visit Quavering Tongues / Teangannan air Crith