The three artworks installed in and around the Forth and Clyde Canal, Glasgow are the ‘permanent’, physical traces of a process-led public art project by artists Minty Donald, Neil McGuire and Nick Millar, which took place throughout 2014 and 2015. They result from engagement with a wide range of people, animals, things and communities who use, inhabit, manage or are otherwise associated with the canal and its immediate environment.
THEN/NOW is intended to invite visitors to the canal — regular and occasional — to contemplate the waterway and its surroundings from the perspectives of heritage and ecology. Why does the canal exist? What uses did it have in the past? What roles can it play today and in the future, in Glasgow and beyond?
The three THEN/NOW artworks make subtle interventions into the environment around the canal, using materials that are intrinsic to the location: iron, stone and water. They are intended as markers of the past activities that were part of the THEN/NOW project, but also as objects which might pique the interest of visitors, prompting them to reflect on the canal’s changing status and functions and its connection to a wider network of waterways.
Each work is designed to respond to seasonal and climatic conditions, taking on a significantly different appearance and mood depending on weather and light. The works have also begun a longer-term process of weathering and evolution — the iron work rusting, algae and moss shading the whitewashed lettering, dirt and rubbish gathering in the carved stone basins — changing but enduring, like the canal itself.
Then/Now also hosted a symposium on public art, place-making, heritage and ecology - click here to view presentations.
Supported by Creative Scotland, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Canals, & Scottish Waterways Trust
Project images by Callum Rice.