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4 September 2007
Journey into the Neolithic in Kilmartin Glen

Half Life is a sound-and-art installation that aims to 'reveal the dark but inspiring mindset of Scotland's Neolithic inhabitants.' While the Glasgow-based environmental art charity NVA is reluctant to give out specific details, the result will involve soundscapes culled from the natural world, installations created from it and a devised theatre event in the evening, created with the National Theatre of Scotland, around a newly created tree-trunk henge. Set up in 1992 by creative director Angus Farquhar, NVA produces site-specific events and interventions.
     Staged throughout the day and night in one of the world’s most significant prehistoric regions, Half Life offers a physical and emotive experience which reveals the dark but inspiring mindset of Scotland's early Neolithic inhabitants. Half Life starts by day, when visitors are invited to explore a series of 16 earmarked archaeological sites (of a massive 350 in the area) with local archaeologist and curator at Kilmartin Museum, Dr Sharon Webb, and installations based around known and rarely seen prehistoric landmarks. The route follows recently recovered archaeological field notes giving invaluable insight into the area. These include newly discovered cup and ring marked stones carved 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, magnificent burial cairns, standing stones and ancient hill forts, with walks ranging from 15 minutes to 3 hours. In the evening, a powerful outdoor production will be staged in an atmospheric forest location at the entrance to Kilmartin glen, centred on a sculptural set constructed from hundreds of felled logs.
     They've been visually designed by Simon Costin alongside architect/engineer James Johnson and sonically curated by Barry Esson. Costin says: "Hopefully this will bring a different perspective to the way people view the landscape. I hope what we're doing will inspire people to use their imagination." The aim is to enhance the experience of the historic landscape. The danger is in creating a romanticised experience. "We have to be clear about this. What we're doing is art, not historical interpretation," says Farquhar. "What's interesting for me is that this is the point when human consciousness was evolving fast, where we first decided to make marks on a rock; where we thought it was actually worth the time to do this."
     Half Life is at Kilmartin Glen, Argyll (Scotland), September 4 to 16. Tickets: £20/£12 (concessions). For further info and to book online visit www.halflife.org.uk To book by phone call Hub tickets on 0131 473 2056 Tickets will also be available from Kilmartin House Museum, Argyll. Info on the web: www.halflife.org.uk

Sources: NVA, The Herald (28 August 2007), Caroline Lewis for 24 Hour Museum, Scotsman (31 August 2007)

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