February 2013, Isle of Skye, Torrin Marble Quarry

quarry 02 Within sight of of Uamh an Ard Achadh is the Torrin marble quarry. A dramatic contrast to the dark secrecy of Uamh an Ard Achadh, the quarry sits whitely obvious against the backdrop of the Cuillin. The juxtaposition of these two sites invites an obvious reflection on the differing uses man has had for this Skye landscape and the differing attitudes to nature which each represent; one is a site of reverence and ritual the other of economic development. One invites journey through the hidden depths of the earth to better understand the nature of life and death, the other extracts the depths of the earth to be used to create something new and artificial. quarry 04 The historical background to this progression from an organic to mechanistic view of nature is discussed In Carolyn Merchant’s, The Death of Nature, a pivotal point being the philosophy of Francis Bacon in the 17th Century, ”Miners and smiths should become the model for the new class of natural philosophers who would interrogate and alter nature. They had developed the two most important methods of wresting nature’s secrets from her, the one searching into the bowels of nature, the other shaping nature as on an anvil”. Bacon believed that, “the truth of nature lies hid in certain deep mines and caves”, in this part of Skye he would have found both these environments side by side, both revealing their truth through the eyeglass of man’s view of nature. quarry 03

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