Solo exhibition, Collective, Edinburgh, 2022
At the core of The Beast is an animated short film, a morality tale, centred on the story and legacy of iconic Scottish/American steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and his namesake Diplodocus carnegii. Fossils of Diplodocus carnegii were first found in Wyoming in 1899 on an expedition financed by Carnegie. He subsequently had the species named after himself and commissioned a team of Italian artisans to cast seven replica skeletons in plaster. These objects were donated to international museums between 1908-1913, as a ‘peace keeping exercise’, an act which first brought dinosaurs into popular public consciousness.
Co-written with Ian Saville the story imagines a conversation between Carnegie and a Diplodocus carnegii, that picks at the true nature of his philanthropy. The animation was voiced by Dave Anderson and Keeley Forsyth. Inspired by the aesthetics of the American political satire magazine Puck, the animation was by Regina Ohak with additional effects by Duncan Marquiss with sound and music by Ross Downes.
The crowned heads of Europe All make an awful fuss Over Uncle Andy And his old Diplodocus Tavern song (c.1905), author unknown
A collection of archival material relating to Carnegie along with specimens from the University of Edinburgh’s Cockburn Geological Museum including rocks and minerals associated with steel production alongside a fossil of an ichthyosaur were presented in the display cases.
With the assistance of the Rivers of Steel Archive, Pittsburgh, the names of the workers who died as part of the Homestead strikes, including steel workers and Pinkertons (private security guards hired by businesses to infiltrate unions and keep strikers out of factories), were presented as a wall piece by sign painter Erin Bradley-Scott.