I planted a clock and swallowed a seed (2021)

performance made in collaboration with Alkmini Gkousiari and was co-produced with the GoMA Youth Group at the Gallery of Modern Art

‘I planted a clock and swallowed a seed’ is a performance that explores the agricultural history of the site upon which the Gallery of Modern Art now stands. Before the sale of the site to tobacco merchant William Cunninghame in 1778, the land was home to a few farm cottages and crossroads where cows were herded to their grazing pastures in Cowcaddens. Using materials such as soil, ceramic, vegetables and sound, we try to invoke how previous bodies might have moved through this rural landscape, rather than the concrete heart of the city that we know today. By exploring the body’s movements through feeding, harvesting, herding and planting, we hope the audience experiences a connection to the soil beneath the GoMA’s foundations. 

The construction of the Cunninghame’s home in 1778 intrinsically links the site of the GoMA to the transatlantic slave trade and the UK’s history of colonisation. We wanted to explore with care and attention the characteristics of the site before that time, as a way of understanding what followed, and how relationships between power and agriculture changed with the expansion of the British empire.  

The vegetables in this performance were kindly donated by the Glasgow Seed Library, whom we donated the soil to following the performance. 

Isobel O’Donovan