The Pandemic Project :: Allen Laing

Allen Laing is one of our ‘The Pandemic’ project featured artists. Laing blends performance, video and traditional woodworking techniques in his practice.

Laing is based in Pretoria where he shares a studio space with Angus Taylor, Beth Armstrong, Heidi Fourie and Rina Stutzer.

Laing was inspired by the UJ Choir’s rendition of Loch Lomond well-known traditional Scottish song. This love song regrets the parting of the lovers in a sad, melancholic tune.

See Laing’s explanation of his work (insert modern Scottish accent)

I’ kin seem fortuitoos tha’ th’ six-foot-seven, red-haired, awnie giant jimmy wi’ th’ scots surname shuid be chosen tae interpret th’ haunting an’ nostalgic sang aboot Loch Lommond; bu’ i’ truth, this wark wis inevitable. It represents awthin tha’ mah life haes bin buildin’ towards. This project haes combined mah deep research oan architecture, engineerin’, material technology, ecology, green construction, sustainability an’ magic.

Frae th’ druid-builders o’ ancient earth mounds , thro’ th’ kingly constructors o’ cathedrals ‘n’ castles, tae th’ modern machinists wha’ harnessed th’ power o’ steam; th’ kilted folk hae it in thair bluid tae heap things atop ane anither, ‘n’ tae aim higher than e’en th’ builders o’ Babel.

The low road teuk me, in engineer’s blue overalls, tae th’ dirt o’ mah wee rented backgreen, whaur ah envisioned a soaring monument gart o’ hee haw bu’ natural materials. In th’ 10 square meter backgreen whaur we graw weeds ‘n’ lang grass ah wis able tae pick up th’ straw-like leaf-stems o’ uir indigenous Cussonia Spicata an’ bind thaim t’gether wi’ th’ vines o’ th’ gey invasive Cat’s Claw an’ Mornin’ Glory creepers.

The resultin’ erection stauns as a memorial tae mah loov o’ nature an’ th’ bens, glens, burns an’ o’ coorse lochs o’ mah fatherland. Ah acknowledge that ah, tae, am an alien, an’ tha’ by windin’ masell aroond this land ah kin hulp tae build something different, an’ hopefully worthwhile, ye ken?

Have a look at how beautifully Bonnie Backgreen Game came together.