First There is a Mountain is a new artwork by Katie Paterson that connects the public to the world’s diverse mountains ranges. Touring from 31 March to 27 October 2019, the project involves the creation of a set of ‘buckets and spades’ in the form of world mountains, from which the public will be invited to build mountains of sand across the UK coastline and play out the world’s natural geography against a series of tidal times. Each pail is a scale model of five of Earth’s mountains: Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mount Shasta (USA), Mount Fuji (Asia), Stromboli (Europe), and Uluru (Oceania), are nested together.
First There is a Mountain is set to be choreographed over the period of daylight saving time during British Summer Time. The artwork will tour twenty-five high profile coastal art venues around the UK, who will each stage a sand pail building event on their local beach. The ways in which the public interacts with the artwork at each location is integral to the evolution of the project and its overall experience. Participants will sculpt beaches into thousands of mountains of sand to form micro-geologies. The artwork’s inevitable ephemerality points to concepts around gravitational attraction – awareness of Earth’s tilted axis during longer daylight hours and the UK’s eroding coastline. First There is a Mountain is a poetic vehicle that connects diverse world mountains to smallest grains of sand, participants holding the world’s geography in their hands, time / geology collapsing, and connecting through touch.