In July 2011 Cape Farewell embarked on a month-long expedition by boat across the Scottish Islands, bringing the notion and experience of expedition home to the UK, with an exploration of island ecologies and cultures, and of the strategies for sustainable and resilient futures being implemented across the Scottish Isles. More ›

The Crew

The expedition crew of 40 includes island artists, storytellers, film makers, playwrights, architects, designers, musicians, community leaders, social scientists, ecologists, marine biologists, oceanographers, poets, acclaimed Gaelic singers and a chef.
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Video highlights

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Erika Blumenfeld

Joins the expedition for week 4

Erika Blumenfeld is an internationally exhibiting artist and Guggenheim Fellow with a BFA in Photography from Parsons School of Design. Since 1998, Erika Blumenfeld has approached her work much like an ecological archivist, and has created photo-based and video-based works through the study, witness and documentation of the wondrous natural world.

In her Light Recordings series, the artist works with solar and lunar light as both medium and subject, developing her own cameras and processes to directly record the subtle incremental changes that light makes throughout our daily and yearly astronomical cycles. During her residency in Antarctica she initiated her work, The Polar Project, using both lens-less and lens-based cameras to document the atmospheric phenomena that occur on the ice continent, from the ocean beginning to freeze to the sun’s rays acting upon the prismatic surface of the vast ice fields. In her recent documentation of the Gulf oil catastrophe, she returns entirely to the traditional camera to document the shadow side of humanity’s impact upon the natural world.

Blumenfeld’s work has been exhibited widely in galleries and museums in the US and abroad, including the Albright Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, New York), Ballroom (Marfa, Texas), DiverseWorks Art Space (Hous- ton, Texas), Fargfabriken Norr (Ostersund, Sweden), Galerie der Stadt Mainz-Bruckenturm (Mainz, Germany), Hertfordshire University Galler- ies (England), Kunstnernes Hus (Oslo, Norway), New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts (Santa Fe) OCA (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (Oregon), Stadtgalerie (Kiel, Germany), Willem de Kooning Academie (Rotterdam, Netherlands), and TATE Modern (Lon- don), among many others.
Blumenfeld has received grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, the Land Rheinland-Pfalz Kultusministerium, and the Polaroid Corporation. She was Ballroom Marfa’s inaugural artist-in-residence, and was awarded a Special Editions Fellowship from the Lower East Side Printshop.

She has been awarded rare opportunities to create her work in non-traditional studio environments. In 2001, she worked on a Bioluminescence project with Latz Laboratory at the Scripps Institute for Oceanography. In 2004, the artist worked on a video piece documenting a full lunar cycle at the McDonald Observatory. In January of 2009, Blumenfeld went to Antarctica for a month as the artist-in-residence of ITASC (Interpolar Transnational Art Science Constellation) and SANAP (South African National Antarctic Program).
Her work has been featured in Art in America, ARTnews and Camera Arts magazines, and appears in the books Photography: New Mexico published by Fresco Fine Art Publications (2008), The Polaroid Book (2005, 2008) published by Taschen. The artist’s recent work from Antarctica appears in the book Arte Da Antartida (Art from Antarctica) published by Goethe-Institut (2009), in which Blumenfeld’s essay “What is White” is also included.

Blumenfeld’s work is in the permanent collections of the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Lannan Foundation, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, The Polaroid Collection, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and the University of Texas.


Read posts by Erika Blumenfeld

Sea Change Programme

Puffin from the Bird Yarns project, part of Cape Farewell's Sea Change programme.
Grown out of the Scottish Islands Expedition, Cape Farewell’s Sea Change is a four-year programme of research and making across Scotland’s western and northern isles. Sea Change involves over 30 UK and international artists and scientists, working collaboratively and independently to consider the relationships between people, places and resources in the context of climate change.... Read more ›

A timely reminder of how valuable an outsider’s perspective can be

Community Energy Scotland’s annual conference offered a timely reminder of how valuable an outsider’s perspective can be.  It was reported on some research into how different countries are taking forward the development of renewable energy. The study looks at several European countries including Scotland, as well as five states in America. The most striking feature... Read more ›

First there was an island – then there was a boat

Shiants 2
“First there was an island – then there was a boat”, so begins a poem by Shetland writer Laureen Johnston.  Since owning my first boat at the age of eleven, I have been an obsessive explorer of islands, the smaller and more remote the better.  Once, in the grip of a sudden attack of aquatic... Read more ›

‘On these isles’

Lawrence has a 7am coffee break after feeding cattle.
‘On these isles’ is a project by photographer Ed Smith, whom we had the great pleasure of meeting when visiting the Island of Eigg. Ed has spent large periods of time on Eigg and other Inner Hebridean isles capturing life there in pictures. Have a look at more of his images and this project at... Read more ›

A gaelic song

Mary Jane Lamond, Jo Royle and Julie Fowlis Video by Ruth Little

Cape Farewell – we know what to do, can art help us get on and do it?

The following is an excerpt from Sara Parkin’s article found on the Forum for the Future website. …I was fortunate enough to join the crew for one week of a four week tour of Scottish Islands, starting with Skye and Canna before crossing the Minch to Mingulay, Barra and South Uist. The weather was kind,... Read more ›

Islands and Visions

Eigg Barbecue on Song of the Whale
There is a sea view when travelling from Eigg to Mallaig where you have a 360° vision of the Small Isles, Skye, the mountains of Scotland, Mull and, far into the distance, the Outer Hebrides. At 6 am yesterday the grey of the sea bled into the numerous blues of the mountains all dramatised by... Read more ›

Annie Cattrell and Jo Shapcott in conversation about week 4 of the expedition

Annie 1
JS Annie, what is it about islands? AC I like the fact that there’s a larger proportion of sea than land mass visible. There appears to be a completeness and self-sufficiency about the individual islands even though they are all distinctly different. There seems to be a big distinction between uninhabited and inhabited islands –... Read more ›


Photo by Sion Parkinson
(1) On the crossing from Ullapool to Stornaway on the Calmac, I wrote myself a list of rules, a set of behaviours that would concentrate my efforts, or assuage any guilt from any feelings of impotence, in my seven days aboard the ship. (1.1) Rules: (1.1.1) Take photographs, more than you need to, get in... Read more ›


Cotton Grass marking  Dwelling Rona
It was my birthday when I went to Rònaidh first. A place I wanted to see since I was little but I had always missed the boat. It is about forty miles north of my house near the Butt of Lewis. I went on the sixth of August aged thirty eight on the yacht ‘Song... Read more ›

Mary Arnold-Forster

Skye architect Mary shows the house of Fred Taylor she designed and reflects on the progress on Eigg and other green based aspirations for the islands architecture and energy supply.   Video shot by David Buckland     Sketches by Mary Arnold-Forster

Farewell and Ahoy: Log of a Voyage

Photo by Mary Smith
“Back in the kitchen.  A new group has joined Song of the Whale. There is an overlap of crew, Cape Farewell folk, and the artists and scientists who will sail together this coming week. They are planning to sail to North Rona, the Shiants and the coasts of Skye. But I’ve left the ship though... Read more ›