Our Ghosts Outnumber Us

Jamie Watt, Our Ghosts Outnumber Us, instalation 3.jpg

Our Ghosts Outnumber Us

Jamie Watt


Our Ghosts Outnumber Us is based on the Scottish Maiden, a medieval Scottish guillotine. The original structure is steeped in dark history.

I replaced the machine’s blade with a mirror, referencing the clichéd notion that ‘art holds up a mirror to society’. The weight on top of the ‘blade’ is a solid block of aluminium, created by melting down 350 beer cans. The title is taken from Douglas Dun’s poem, At Falkland Palace. The line references our country’s rich and bloody past and is a quintessentially Scottish way of saying ‘we are standing on the shoulders of giants’.

Understanding history is important in appreciating how contemporary societies function and in charting a culture’s development into the future. By referencing historical artefacts or narratives and using the visual language of the past I aim to create discourse concerning contemporary cultural identity. Understanding history enlightens us to how social values and knowledge can shift over time, no matter how slowly. Understanding history means understanding ourselves.