heike löwenstein, heikelowenstein at gmail dot com, +44 (0)771 1316210

Copyright 2007-2017
Built with Indexhibit

Annie Craig - Walled Garden, Glendaruel (Argyll, Scotland), 2007

“A place can be defined as relational, historical and concerned with identity” (Marc Auge, Non-Places)

PeopleSpaces was conceived in 1998 as an idea that was borne out of Heike’s interest in the significance of place for capturing her subjects. It had developed while undertaking commissions, however, Löwenstein wanted to take this relationship between a person and their environment further within her personal work.

The analysis of space, environment and identity is a relatively recent consideration. One hundred thousand years ago the population of the planet could squeeze into Wembley stadium. Now it’s a struggle to fit the supporters of two football teams into the stadium. When humankind first inhabited the earth it was the environment that dictated behaviour and hence identity. Now, centuries later, humans have stamped their authority on the environment through globalisation and population growth. Our relationship to space and identity has changed dramatically. The German philosopher Immanuel Kant proposed that space and time are not inherent features of the world around us but rather ways in which our minds order our experiences. Therefore, have we changed so dramatically from being formed by our environment, as early humans were, to drawing our identity from the space we have created?

The aim of the PEOPLESPACES is to investigate this relationship between people and their environment and to help explain how it affects identity. As the world is made up of many different types of communities, in terms of size, geography and demography the projects Heike aims to undertake in the future will reflect the different nature of the world’s communities. The method is to photograph a representative sample of people in from a specific geographical location to achieve a complex portrait of the whole area, the ‘ultimate environmental portraiture’.

PEOPLESPACES examines the relationship between the people of a specific location to their geographical area and vice versa by allowing the person to select the particular place in which they are photographed. They are then asked to produce a narrative as to why they chose the specific place. Built up over time and with a representative sample this then portrays a region from the eyes of the people who inhabit it, thereby giving the viewer a unique insight into an area.

PEOPLESPACES is unique in that it utilises panoramic photography and its unique ability to capture time and space coupled with the use of other multi-media tools.

These projects can have long lasting benefits, not only to those participating who will gain a deeper understanding of their own communities but also to a wider audience that may include decision-makers at all levels in our society. The insights gained through PEOPLESPACES will lead to better understanding of social issues resulting in clearer and more informative decision-making.

Heike has undertaken the first project in Glendaruel, a valley on the Cowal peninsula in Argyll, Scotland between 2007 and 2008. It is a small community of about 180 people (including children) which is made up of a mixture of farmers who have been born here or come here, people who grew up here, went away and have come back to live and work (from) here, some who have come to retire and some who have been attracted by something special about the place, without having a prior connection.

It is a 'working Glen', tourism plays an important role, but agriculture has been the dominant preoccupation. As farming here as anywhere else is under threat this might be changing in the future, indeed what the future holds for the next generation of farmers is very uncertain. That as many other issues feature in the work.

Heike has been attracted to Glendaruel by the make-up of its community and the environment that can be breathtakingly beautiful one moment and extremely dismal and challenging the next. She has a personal connection with Glendaruel that allowed her to spend some time there over the last few years, and enabled her, with the assistance of some interested volunteers, to start the project in 2007 and move it on as time allowed. She has photographed and interviewed about 35 people, and made a few sound recordings as tests. The project has come to rest since 2009; since then PEOPLESPACES has informed my practice based PhD at the Glasgow School of Art which is taking new work in a different direction.

Willie MacVicar at Bealachandrain