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Replaced Ritual

Upper Ord stone circle, Aberdeenshire

Replaced Ritual took place at the Upper Ord Stone Circle near Rhynie, Aberdeenshire where there are two remaining stones. These stones are thought to be the two flankers for the recumbent stone*. The Tap o’ Noth is in the distance behind the stones, so that they perfectly frame its central dominance. Milling positioned people in the place of stones at specific points on the circumference of the circle, she then covered each individual with dark cloth making them unidentifiable. A large pinhole camera replaced the recumbent stone, so that a sense of the ancient whole circle was recovered for a short period of time and recorded with photography as a ritual. The photographic exposure took ten minutes during which time the participants (as stones) remained still and Milling walked continuously round the circumference of the whole circle. Milling then proceeded to develop the photograph on site, after which it was possible for the audience to view the photograph immediately. The resulting image was a wide- angle, negative, upside-down image of the landscape with the ghosts of absent stones. The remains from the performance remained at Upper Ord Stone Circle for view the next day. Documentation of the performance was exhibited a week later at Peacock Visual arts, Aberdeen as part of Milling’s solo exhibition, Stone Being.
*recumbent and flankers are specific to stone circles in the N.E. of Scotland. The recumbent is a large ‘lying down’ stone with two upright stones either side called flankers.