The next day, the last official day of the residency, we went in search of Macbeth in earnest. A chance sighting the morning before placed him somewhere near the forestry shed where the ‘whiskey bottle cloak’ lived.
When we found him he had been penned in with two sheep in a relatively small enclosure; perhaps he was not so lacking in potency after all? I felt I had come too far though to ask about such small details, and I held aloft the crown of horns to Ann Sgurr, and offered it to Macbeth. His snake-like yellow eyes blinked at us unconcerned, and he found a comfortable place to snooze a little way off. I had heard that there were laws about ‘sheep-bothering’, and that a few hundred years ago one could be interned, mutilated, or even killed for doing so. I am pretty sure though that the term “bothering” once took on a more sinister meaning and the most bothersome thing I intended to do was place a belt around a ram’s neck and give it’s woolly ears a good scratch. Thus with trepidation I stepped into the field and approached my neophyte ram. Macbeth stirred and rose to meet me, sniffed the horns with interest, so I turned them around and made to put them over his head. Joy! That the ram would once again be revitalised with this symbol of masculine power and imbued with the potency of the landscape through which I had taken it. Macbeth sniffed them again, turned and headed off at a trot, showing me his soiled testicles.
By way of simulating the crowned ram I stood away from Macbeth and held the horns level with him, crowning him in the same manner as I had done with the mountain beyond.
Though I don’t feel ready to summarise my overall experience of the past six weeks, I do feel elated at having achieved so much, in such a short period of time, and at having challenged my practice so thoroughly. There is huge scope to create a touring presentation of the project, an academic report for an art journal, and perhaps an exhibition of photographs, prints, and artefacts early next year. There is also scope to create new work inspired and transformed from the activities that took place on Eigg.