Katie Paterson, Ideas, Edinburgh University, KB Campus

What time is it on Venus? What will be read by unborn people? Is it possible to plant a forest using saplings from the oldest tree on earth? Can we make ink to be read only under moonlight? Katie Paterson’s Ideas pose questions about deep time, and the limit of what is real and what is imagined. These short haiku-like three-lined sentences, rendered in stainless steel, are intended to take shape in the imagination of whoever reads them, so becoming an expression of the idea itself. In the largest site responsive presentation of the work to date, one hundred existing and newly created Ideas have been brought together and installed across selected locations at the University of Edinburgh’s King’s Buildings (KB) campus. Specially conceived to mark the campus Centenary and celebrate the College of Science and Engineering, the Ideas are located across an array of buildings (both outside and in), as well as in gardens, grounds and hidden and unexpected places, at varying levels, high and low. Each short text concerns the landscape, the universe, or an expanded sense of earthly and geological time. The subject matter is wide ranging, from the first colours on earth to the universe’s last stars; involving fields such as Chemistry, Biology, Astronomy, Geology, Geography, and Zoology, all of which are sited at the KB campus. Ideas was commissioned by the University of Edinburgh’s College of Science and Engineering, and launched in November 2021. It forms part of the University of Edinburgh Art Collection.