The enigmatic persona of the White Wife will be spending this week on the buses, travelling back and fore across the isles getting a feel of what makes Shetland, and Shetlanders, tick.
Performance artist with the National Theatre of Scotland Lowri Evans, dressed in her white finery, this morning travelled on the 7.55am from Lerwick to Mossbank, back to Lerwick on the number 23 at 9.20am and back to Mossbank on the 11.30am. Other destinations will follow.
Her journeys are part of the Ignition project, designed to explore people’s relationship with their vehicles and their reliance on them and on the fuel the vehicles consume. She is particularly interested in the issues of accidents and speeding – and has already in her time in Shetland heard one scary story of being overtaken on the left hand side.
Lowri will be gathering “bus stories” this week by chatting to passengers, although this morning at 7.55am they were mostly asleep and she did not disturb them. However later journeys yielded stories that will be collected and fed into a performance to be staged in March.
So far she has heard about getting chatted up on the bus, being thrown off for being drunk and missing a bus and waiting three hours for another. She was intrigued that it was not only people who have “blown into Shetland from all over the world” that used the bus, but also the fact that it was vital for deliveries to shops.
And she even got one lady knitting – knitting is part of the project and will eventually result in an art installation of a car being covered in knitting. This will illustrate the juxtaposition of hard metal and soft flesh and embed the safety message of the need for protection when in a moving car – the project was sparked by the tragic death of teenager Stuart Henderson in a crash in 2007.
The project will also feature the parkour group, who will show that travel is possible in a fluid, not just a linear way.
• The White Wife will be on the following buses: Tuesday: number 1 (morning) number 2 (afternoon); Wednesday: number 6; Thursday: number 9 (morning) North Isles (Lerwick-Unst afternoon); Friday: North Isles (Baltasound-Lerwick).