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Parking Space: Level Up

From Callum Davidson

“Back in October I got the chance to take part in Parking Space set up by the Stove and Sleeping Giants. Such a great weekend meeting all the people there, having a great time skating and filming and just soaking up the good times. The whole idea that every level you went down was a new event to watch and take part in really made it for me. Here’s some stills from a video in the works from the event I filmed with Mutual Motion.”


Watch Callum’s short film created as part of Parking Space here:


Keep up with Callum and his film and photography work online:

Twitter: @MutualMotion

Facebook here


Musings News

Pure Singleness and the Scottish Parlimentary Cross-Party Group on Culture

Guest Blog Post. Stan Bonnar

Stan and Cara thought hard

Stove member Stan Bonnar shared with us his recent open letter to the Scottish Parliamentary Cross-Party group, on creating spaces and environments for thinking, discussing. How do we nurture culture? Stan used our AGM back in October as a stepping stone in his letter, and so we asked him if he would kindly let us share his letter on our blog.

For more on Stan, please have a look at his interesting flickr account here which includes an alternative artistic reading of his letter


“i attended the agm of the stove artists collective in dumfries the other night. after all the formalities were over, they had organized a group discussion on public art, and this was facilitated by two groups – dot to dot active arts (blyth, northumberland) and the open jar collective (glasgow). also there were mark lyken and emma dove (who are currently artists in residence at the stove). this meeting of minds took place in an underground car park (closed to cars but not to skateboarders) and the various spaces of this dark cave were illuminated – some by moving images projected onto sheets, some by sculptural installations.

all these artists are actively and intimately involved with people. i would describe their art practice as mindful listening – cupped hands held open in places where people are – people fill the cup with all sorts of ideas and things. some of these leak away – filtered through fingers, but some remain for people and artist to see more clearly, and perhaps to make something of – a work of environmental art, of social art? but i also see the work of these artists as indicative of a greater search for cultural equanimity that started after the second world war. a continuing response by the individual to the excesses of technological globalization. but what drives such a human response – an ethical impulse – a quest for fairness?

human beings are naturally universal, by which i mean that our ideas and impulses are the very fabric of the universe. if the universe has a capacity to be unthinking, then so do we. if we are ethical and mindful, then the universe is ethical and mindful. we extend as the universe, and the universe extends as us – we are things like any other.

i will now try to take you on a trip into the universe as i understand it. i want us to consider the following quotation which is the current wikipedia definition of quantum entanglement: “Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently—instead, a quantum state may be given for the system as a whole.

“Measurements of physical properties such as position, momentum, spin, polarization, etc. performed on entangled particles are found to be appropriately correlated. For example, if a pair of particles is generated in such a way that their total spin is known to be zero, and one particle is found to have clockwise spin on a certain axis, then the spin of the other particle, measured on the same axis, will be found to be counterclockwise. Because of the nature of quantum measurement, however, this behavior gives rise to effects that can appear paradoxical: any measurement of a property of a particle can be seen as acting on that particle (e.g. by collapsing a number of superimposed states); and in the case of entangled particles, such action must be on the entangled system as a whole. It thus appears that one particle of an entangled pair “knows” what measurement has been performed on the other, and with what outcome, even though there is no known means for such information to be communicated between the particles, which at the time of measurement may be separated by arbitrarily large distances.”

for me, the phenomenon of quantum entanglement/measurement seems to show that the nature of things in space and time is very much comprehended from the point of view of something, like ourselves, who is entangled in the system. it’s not possible to become physically disentangled from a physical universe of space and time, especially if we ourselves are by our very comprehending, projecting the physical universe. so what is the universe really like beyond our comprehending of it?

for me, the phenomenon of quantum entanglement shows that the universe is the extension of pure singleness, throughout which we things project an infinite array of differently entangled realities of spacetime. the point is, that no matter where or when we look, we are looking at that thing with which we are entangled, which is ourself. we are our own differential comprehending of pure singleness.

i asked the question earlier concerning what drives the human ethical impulse – the quest for fairness to which social artists are compelled. the answer is clear that it is our pure singleness that drives such a quest. but how do things come into existence from pure singleness?

here is a representation of pure singleness…

…because of our nature as spatio-temporal things, this space is the closest we can get to actually describing pure singleness. for us it is the pure singleness of ‘space’ which has no property other than that it can extend for a ‘time’. as ‘things in space and time’ is how we comprehend our own pure singleness. but what constitutes a thing?

if singleness has the property that it can extend as our understanding (and then as the comprehending of that which we understand), then our ‘thinghood’ is the symmetrical extending of pure singleness. what i mean by this is simply that there can be no extension without that which is extended from. a thing is always a symmetrical alterity of otherness – that very system of a particle mentioned in the wikipedia definition of quantum entanglement. a thing is always the symmetry of otherness, and although i comprehend myself as an individual, i am actually nothing but my difference from you.

there is no ‘thing-in-itself’ as such. a thing is not for example the cat which strolls past me on the pavement on a sunny day. rather the thing is pure singleness extending as symmetry of the universe – nuances of which are the cat, the pavement, the sun and me. nuances which constitute the thinghood of the things that i comprehend.

but as i hinted earlier, comprehending is nothing more than our comprehensive grasping together of a basic understanding that we have with otherness. understanding-with is the sheer symmetrical extending of pure singleness as the alterity of otherness. understanding-with is the basis of the universe. the cat, the pavement, the sun and i are all nothing but our difference from each other, and we create and recreate each other in the

very moment of our understanding-with. this is the very spacing and temporalizing of pure singleness.

if i become conscious of the cat on the pavement, then for a few moments i will cultivate my understanding-with of the cat/pavement/sun/me thing. i might then nurture that initial cultivation by bending down to speak to the cat. if i then find that i am not only absorbed with this cat but with cats in general, i might join the cats protection league and be absorbed into a culture of cats and cat related things. in other words, i become ‘cultured’. the point is that there is no thing that is not cultured to some extent, and a thing that is cultured has been cultivated to be so. culture is the way of things.

if culture is the way of things, how best are we to nurture culture? by what means do we ackowledge the cultivation of things as cultures? do we simply celebrate cultural differences? of course we do, but this can be a hugely broad and insensitive brush stroke. rather, it is important to acknowledge the details of sophisticated cultural practice – literally for example, the manipulation of the nuts and bolts of a mechanics’ workplace.

many artists such as those whom i mentioned earlier, are deeply entangled with the cultures of others. they seek to interrogate, nurture and extend these cultures because they are very sensitive to the way of things. their work in these social contexts is at once public and intimately detailed. we might look on the scottish parliamentary cross party group on culture as a place where cultural things become entangled – but the ultimate purpose of such a group must also be to nurture the cultures of others. if it does not, then it runs the risk of becoming nothing more than a showcase for the arts establishment.

there is no limit what art is and where it can be found. at its most fundamental it is about the languages of cultural things and how they develop. the CPG on culture must be sensitive to artists working with ‘nuts and bolts’ and enable them to become entangled with MSP’s. both groups are working to nurture cultural things – but artists also nurture the languages of things.

all over scotland, MSP’s and artists occupy the same localities, and these are where new CPG working parties should be founded.”

stan bonnar 2014

News Project Updates

Taxi to Dumfries?

Guest blog post from Emma Dove.

Mark and I are about five weeks in to our residency with The Stove. One London taxicab and twenty-four conversations in said taxicab later, and we’re starting to get a feel for the place…

A little bit of background on that. We had heard that The Stove was planning to hold their AGM in an underground car park… Ok then. But not just an AGM, in fact this usually empty car park will be filled with games, projections, skateboarders, a cinema… Ok then…

These are the sort of wild off-hand statements that we have become accustomed to expect at Stove meetings, in amongst chat of salty coos and wooden-spoon themed offerings to gypsy kings. Hang on a minute; what’s a salty coo? Well, after a little more explanation, we are beginning to grasp the nuances of the rich, diverse and genius ways that The Stove Network is engaging with a town in flux and a wide geographical area with a rich and beguiling history.

We came away thinking, firstly, “These guys are bloody brilliant” and, secondly, “What can we do in an underground car park in 2 weeks time?”. As mentioned in the last blog, we wanted to find a way to start exploring the theme of human migrations and find a way to get people chatting about home – the good bits and the not so good bits.

What sort of warm, friendly and familiar space could we create within an underground car park? The sort of space where people feel happy to open up and chat? The sort of space where we can set up all of our kit and record these conversations in an unobtrusive way? The sort of space that somehow keys in with the themes of “home” and of “travel”…?

A mad week of logistical grafting later and the taxicab arrived, driven all the way up from Chingford in Essex by a lovely chap called Wullie J, and was given a whirlwind makeover in time for its Parking Space debut.

taxi install montage

We weren’t sure what to expect, both of the wider Parking Space event and our small part within it. We agreed we would be happy if 5 or 6 people came in for a chat and so were absolutely delighted to have a total of 24 folks through the shiny black doors within 2 days, each with their own different story to tell. Each visitor marked the places that they spoke about on a map of D&G and we plan to follow up some of these places to film during our residency.

In terms of the wider event, the space was bubbling with activity as curious visitors slowly made their way down through each level of the car park, lured by the unusual sounds that ricocheted and tumbled together through the space, invitations to street games, dancing lights and projections upon pillars and walls, not to mention the people hurling themselves in to the air mounted upon small wooden chariots [skateboards]. A feast for the senses.

Gab Cab visitors
A few of our visitors in the Gab Cab

To be privy to the AGM side of things was also fantastic for us. The personal value upon which everyone present felt for the organisation (and for each other’s work) was palpable, much of which was expressed through talks and images and emerged further through the Public Art discussion facilitated by Dot to Dot Active Arts and The Open Jar Collective, fittingly chatted over a plate of hot stovies and a glass of wine. A really valuable evening to be a part of.

We’ve lots of ideas and inspiration to explore over the next few months and we are planning an Artist Talk in December to share some of these. We will also be talking about some our work to date, sharing some of our “Hame” work in progress (including some Parking Space rushes…) and screening our previous film, Mirror Lands.

Details to follow shortly.

Gab Cab photo © Galina Walls

News Project Updates

Rushes from Parking Space

IMG_7180 (1)
Strange yellow circles appeared in car parks around town
Stove widows with yellow circles
Clues began to emerge elsewhere and on social media
Meanwhile in a basement under Greyfriars Church other painting was going on
Meanwhile in a basement under Greyfriars Church other painting was going on
On Friday 17th October the Stove members and other members of the public gathered on Level Four of the underground NCP car park for the Annual General Meeting of The Stove Network
On Friday 17th October the Stove members and other members of the public gathered on Level Four of the underground NCP car park for the Annual General Meeting of The Stove Network
Hannah Brackston and Alex Wilde of Open Jar Artists Collective and Stephen Pritchard of Dot To Dot Active Arts led the discussion that followed the formal business of the AGM
The Stove Network Board worked hard
The Stove Network Board worked hard
Stan and Cara thought hard
Stan and Cara thought hard
Craig Patterson from Burns Cafe served Stovies from the back of a pick-up
Craig Patterson from Burns Cafe served Stovies from the back of a pick-up
The Doonhame Derby Doll Usherettes arrived
The Doonhame Derby Doll Usherettes arrived
Crucial chat
Everyone helped convert the space into a cinema
Eating popcorn whilst watching 'How to Start a Revolution'
Eating popcorn whilst watching ‘How to Start a Revolution’
The next day people played street games on the top deck of the carpark
The next day people played street games on the top deck of the carpark
The skaters were busy on Level 1
On Level 2 'Mirrorlands' by Mark Lyken and Emma Dove was showing on two walls simultaneously
On Level 2 ‘Mirrorlands’ by Mark Lyken and Emma Dove was showing on two walls simultaneously
On Level 3 was Mark and Emma’s ‘GabCab’ in which people were filmed talking about where they would like the taxi to take them
Emma Dove operating 'GabCab'
Emma Dove operating ‘GabCab’
Entering level 4
Entering level 4
Where Alice Francis made popcorn
Where Alice Francis made popcorn
...and Max Fox made hot chocolate
…and Max Fox made hot chocolate
Parking Space cinema - screening 'Shell'
Parking Space cinema – screening ‘Shell’
Screening of movies by Mutual Motion (films made by local skaters)...watched by local skaters
Screening of movies by Mutual Motion (films made by local skaters)…watched by local skaters

Parking Space – by The Stove Network and the people of Dumfries

Lead Artist: Katie Anderson

Stove Artist Team; Matt Baker, Hannah Brackston, Moxie DePaulitte, Doonhame Derby Dolls, Emma Dove, Dumfries Skaters,  Alice Francis, Max Fox, Andy Jardine, Mark Lyken, Will Levi Marshall, Debs McDowall, Mutual Motion, Stephen Pritchard, Colin Tennant, John Wallace, Ailsa Watson, Alex Wilde

Photography: Cate Ross, Colin Tennant, Galina Walls

Thanks to: Members and Board of The Stove Network, Stuart and Sean at NCP, SHAX, Speedy Hire

More images from Parking Space – here


The Future Looks Bright for the Stove Network

It’s always good to start off the week with some good news, and as many of you may have heard across social media or the news over the weekend (check out The Herald here and a-n online here), The Stove has joined 118 other organisations in Creative Scotland’s National Portfolio for 2015-18.

Read our press release in full:

Dumfries’ The Stove Network has joined a prestigious list of just 119 arts organisation across the whole country who have been awarded National Portfolio status and a three year funding package.

The decision follows an open application process which saw 264 organisations apply to the national arts body Creative Scotland and now puts The Stove Network in such prestigious Company as Tramway in Glasgow and the Edinburgh International Festival.

Since the demise of DGArts in 2011 Dumfries and Galloway has had no nationally funded arts organisations. Wigtown Book Festival was also successful in their application for funding from 2015-18 alongside The Stove Network.

Local band The Barstow Bats playing at The Stove during the Dumfries Music Conference. Image: Colin Tennant
Local band The Barstow Bats playing at The Stove during the Dumfries Music Conference.
Image: Colin Tennant

Janet Archer, Chief Executive Officer of Creative Scotland, said: “I am delighted to announce such a creatively rich and diverse portfolio of regularly funded organisations across Dumfries & Galloway. It represents some of Scotland’s most important, innovative and exciting cultural organisations, producing and presenting great work across literature and visual art.

“Importantly, these organisations will also provide significant support for individual artists and the broader workforce across the area’s creative sector.

“Following a clear and robust decision making process, I’m delighted that two organisations in Dumfries & Galloway are joining the portfolio of three-year regular funded organisations.

The Stove's 135 members met recently for their Annual General Meeting in a temporary cinema created on Level Four of the NCP underground car park on Shakespeare St. Image: Galina Walls
The Stove’s 135 members met recently for their Annual General Meeting in a temporary cinema created on Level Four of the NCP underground car park on Shakespeare St.
Image: Galina Walls

Linda Mallett – member of The Stove Network curatorial team said: “This is a massive affirmation of our work from our national arts body – The Stove Network believes in partnership working and we hope that this award will go towards our programme of developing projects with the brilliant artists and groups locally, nationally and internationally.

“We have always taken a stance that we should be a means of drawing new resources into the region rather than placing another burden on precious funding locally – this award is all new outside money that we will be able to use for the benefit of the citizens of Dumfries.

Stove artist Katie Anderson helps some new recruits cast metal spoons with the group's Mobile Metal Foundry at their Trading Journeys project for the Wigtown Book Festival. Image: Colin Hattersley
Stove artist Katie Anderson helps some new recruits cast metal spoons with the group’s Mobile Metal Foundry at their Trading Journeys project for the Wigtown Book Festival.
Image: Colin Hattersley

“This funding will allow us to carefully plan out a sustainable future for The Stove Network when the building works are complete at 100 High Street and bring something entirely new and exciting for the town centre and local people … the future is bright!”

Musings News Project Updates

‘We Are Nourishing Soup’

As part of our AGM last Friday at #ParkingSpace, we were keen to discuss some of the broader issues surrounding the Stove’s values surrounding the relationship between the Stove, Dumfries and the role of public art. 

We kicked off the debate with Open Jar Collective, and Dot to Dot Active Arts and started to work on a ‘recipe’ for the Stove.
This has felt like the somewhat experimental beginning of a process, which we are hoping to develop more fully over the course of the next few months, and we will be looking for more input from our Stove members during this time – more details to follow on this in the near future.

In the meantime we’d like to share some of our considering vegetables…


The Contraversial Pear

no prejudice
no judgement”


The Honesty Jar

“Honest and Clear


The Critical Thinking Scissors

“Critical thinking
Prepared to take risks
Visionary Work
Make people feel good
…Getting to the point”


The Blender of Fulfillment

Accessiblity (conceptual)
Fulfillment and hungry for more
Challenge yourself”


The Catalytic Convertor Carton

“Catalytic convertor
Pride of Place


The Unexpected Fish

The Banana amongst us

The Parterships Tongs 

“Partnerships: Working Together”

More vegetables available on our facebook page here

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