about us


DOM is an arts project established in 1996 by a group of international artists working in Scotland
. The project has permanent exhibition space at 8 Advocate's Close in Edinburgh's Old Town,
and also stages arts events in Scotland and elsewhere in Europe. DOM, which means"home" in Russian, aims to serve contemporary European culture, alert to the need for artists, writers, musicians, composers and filmmakers to assume greaterresponsibility for the destiny of the arts as a whole.


The work of those affiliated to DOM cannot be defined in terms of style or content, nor
in form or technique. Instead, they are bound by a quiet guidance of something unspoken,
something which achieves expression through the artist. This flow of creativity does not
have its source in the artist, it is not self-expression. The artists affiliated to DOM tend to
work outside the mainstream, concerned to pursue the solitary demands of their work.
DOM can offer opportunities for these often isolated characters to gather together and
celebrate the wealth of kindred creativity. DOM stages festivals, exhibitions and
performances across Europe as a way of introducing new audiences to this powerful
undercurrent in European creativity today. These DOM projects become opportunities
for the imagination, with artists and musicians paying greater heed to the spirit in which
works are presented. DOM has also established a trading arm, producing books, posters,
CDs etc, the proceeds of which go directly to fund exhibitions and festivals. Here, Ewan
Allinson explores the spiritual and metaphysical ethos that surrounds DOM.

A metaphysical wind stirs. Its tendrils animate the ether at the edge of the autumn wood.Leaves and twigs shudder with untold delight at this portent of the gale's spirited embrace.There is no reason to doubt that over the coming decades, we shall be priviliged to
witness the creation of masterpieces which span the chasm between the West'sparticular introversions and that ever-onward dance of spirit and matter whichbeckons our gaze. In composition, performance, sculpture, painting, installation,poetry, philosophy and filmmaking, a jolt of the unimaginable is already at work.

The creative instinct to peer into the sources of inspiration has not fared well this century.Intentions have been there in abundance but expressions have struggled. The attack oninherited forms at the outset of the century, be it in music, painting or poetry, was without
doubt intended partly to re-open the paths to profounder sources of expression than thoseengaged for much of the nineteenth century. The avant-garde identified the very edge ofform to be the point at which something pure could be incarnated into it. In music, Webern,
Scelsi and Xenakis without doubt demonstrated that this was no vain conviction, as inpainting did Malevich, Filonov and Klee. But the issue of form became the issue andsuddenly a new orthodoxy was afoot. Other developments introduced introversion,self-reference, and an inflated need to be clever into the equation.

In European philosophy this century, an architecture of original metaphysical thinkingwas painstakingly devised by Heidegger but the burrowing work of Wittgenstein on the one hand and Derrida on the other has left the metaphysical enterprise asa whole looking decidedly shakey. A cathedral of sentences can no longer house
the prayer of those who enquire into truth. The deconstructive impulse withincontemporary philosophy goes overboard though when asserting thatmetaphysics is dead. Babies and bathwater come to mind. By all means let'sstuff the meta-narratives and place them in the archives, but let's also considerhow thought might continue its adventure, relieved of baggage, traversing landscapesknown to Kant, Hegel, Bergson and others but freer to roam. To imagine that brilliant minds will fail to prosper in such a setting is ludicrous.

If imagination is to be the key to philosophical endeavour in Europe then theuniversity regime might not be the most fertile ground for it any longer.




In fact all these things, philosophy and the arts, would do well to place themselveswhere they might best receive the jolt of imagination which is their's for the taking. New contexts for creative/metaphysical endeavour are in emergence throughout
Europe. And at the heart of these efforts, there is the recognition that the
economy of the arts is something which merits utmost attention. Work entails expenditure, expenditure entails revenue, and at present revenue entailspatronage. The whole thing works on money and the arts community has none.
The histories are already being traced of how the benefaction of political operators (famously the F.B.I.) has influenced the course of the contemporary arts in Europethis century. Imagine then that the arts community finances itself and shapesloose affiliations able to defend treasured values while able to engage the political and business communities on an eye to eye basis. Certainly not what John Lennonhad in mind, but not impossible either.

For those grassroots arts projects springing up across Europe - be theymetaphysical in inclination or otherwise - the conditions for achieving a robustindependence are superb. Indeed as state patronage and sponsorship diminishin scope, there is one obvious and sustainable way forwards.

However, pursuing the labyrinthine issue of economy is not the purpose of thisessay. What should be pointed out though is that everything discussed so farreflects both the practice and ongoing concerns of DOM, an arts project based,recently settled into the medieval tenement in Edinburgh's Old Town. The projectis entirely self-financed with a thriving design company providing finance for thenon-profit work of the project.

In choosing to be a platform for work which is broadly metaphysical,
DOM concerns itself principally with the spirit in which work is displayed,performed, and enjoyed. When you bring kindred artists, musicians and the rest together, the scope for innovation is untold.

The mores and conventions which rope the arts away from many who wouldtreasure them, can be dispelled with a flourish of imagination. For DOM andother like groups, the purpose is to provide a setting for creative spontaneity, inviting in that jolt of imagination which hails from beyond the horizons of ourblunted senses. In so doing, DOM is able to provide a bridge between themetaphysical isolation of the western soul and the wellsprings of the eternal
which beckon it. Nothing doctrinaire, no ideological baggage, just a tangiblesense of freedom to engage those thoughts which hail individuals regardlessof their background.

DOM does not aim to present a case for a particular metaphysics through theworks there assembled. Rather, in assembling works of a kindred mode, it aimsto give metaphysical reflection some material with which to work. Though thereis no suggestion of reaching conclusions, DOM does advance a metaphysical position - a simple coracle of roughly hewn timbers able to carry individuals
into interesting waters. This position nods to the salty metaphysics of the Atlantic fringe - Pelagius and Scotus Eriugena through to Wordsworth,Thoreau, Dewey and Seamus Heaney. Not for DOM the neo-platonic contempt for lichens and the everyday cycles of growth and degradation. Nor the Cartesian reduction of worlds to minds; self-expression is therapy,not art. Rather, creativity in the arts is hailed as a wondrously distilled echo of sources, expressions and yearnings which have found on earth an abundance of opportunities from the Precambrian onwards. The ancient Lewisian Gneiss has
been the bright setting and shows it in its folds of quartz and feldspar. The artist merely refracts these sources through her humanity in order that they may touch the souls of others.

DOM, in its north facing close off the Royal Mile, is but a micro-climate in which a certain creativity prospers. The conditions are favourable - Scotland's first gallery was established on this spot as was the Encyclopaedia Britannica.We trust in creativity as the cockerel trusts in the sun. We harbour jolts of the
unimaginable. We welcome all.

Ewan Allinson is director of DOM, a sculptor & writer.

DOM is situated at 8 Advocate's Close, Edinburgh.


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