North West

Spec & Synopsis

Date: 2011

Format: HDV triptych
Duration: 10 minutes continuous loop

North West is a study of a Scottish landscape with a history of indigenous displacement that uses cinematic language to make layered connections to the seductive visual and aural culture of the classic Hollywood Western. Shot in Assynt in Sutherland, it focuses on the geological parallels between Monument Valley – the ubiquitous location and signifier of so many Westerns – and Scotland’s own sandstone inselbergs, or ‘island mountains’.

This work alludes to the historical relationship between Scottish emigration to the States and the emergence of the American cowboy while exploring mankind’s relationship to land, land ownership and the visual depiction of land as a signifier for notions of nationalism.

Wounded Knee, a singer and experimental vocalist, created the musical score that draws on and plays with the melancholic tones of the Spaghetti Western and Scottish folk music to create a unique and ambiguous cinematic soundtrack.