Interview: film artist Nick Thomas on new project Who Built the Access Road?

Nick Thomas

Filmic portrait of Uist looks at impact of missile testing range on island through installation

The missile testing range on South Uist built by the RAF in 1957 may have been privatised in 2001, but the fascination with what is regarded as the largest air and sea range in the UK goes on. Nick Thomas' filmic portrait of Uist that makes up his show at the Telfer looks at the impact of the range on those who live, work and have grown up in its shadow that dominates a landscape where the ancient and modern rub up against each other.

‘There's also a consideration of the Catholic iconography of the area,’ the Glasgow-based artist explains, ‘and its historical role as public art, in the initial ideological conflict around the site.’

Thomas' fascination with the site has seen him make other Uist-based work since graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 2012, though this is the most substantial piece to date, with much of its research techniques learned while Thomas worked on the moving image archive of pioneering Sauchiehall Street arts lab, the Third Eye Centre. Thomas' Uist project moves his processes up a notch.

‘It's an attempt,’ he says, ‘to look at how technological change, religion, landscape and politics might interact with each other in a particular historical moment, or moments.’

Telfer Gallery, Glasgow, Sat 13–Sun 28 Sep.

Nick Thomas: Who Built the Access Road?

Installation consisting of a filmic portrait of the Uists and the missile testing site there.