vend from deep in the forest

Anne Waggot Knott: artist/geographer

You arrive at a clearing in the woods. You receive a mysterious coin-like token and an Un-Map.

On foot now, you delve in.

Shafts of sunlight guide you, splashing momentarily across the forest floor as the canopy yields to the breeze. The storm has gone and there is a freshness, a clarity in the air.
You gloriously un-map yourself in this forest of secrets.
You tread your own path.
You pause, glance, shiver, as you brush with the forest's inner workings.

You look around. You are alone.

Carefully, you draw out your token and contemplate it. It sits heavy in your hand.

You drop it through the rusty slot and slowly pull out the small, gold drawer.



You extract a package.

You slowly unwrap it and turn it over in your hand. It is at once rough and smooth, worn and new, solid. It is tiny. It sits pleasingly in your palm.

A small, original artwork.

You have exchanged your token for Forest Floor, an ambiguous, abstract linocut, printed by hand on reclaimed floorboard. Our natural resources coming full circle. Back to the forest. A discarded material, but now a thing of value once again.

You nestle it carefully in your pocket.



Vend: the inner workings

You explore, unclear at first, unsure what you are seeking. You experience the depths of the woodland, the outcome uncertain.

You are rewarded for your intrepid commitment with a 'free' artwork, made of wood, dispensed from deep in the forest. It is unexpected, an adventure, but represents a pleasing circularity. You have exited through the gift shop, but the real gifts are the questions and connections you now carry with you.

At its core, Vend encourages reflection and discussion about how we commoditise and value contemporary art and the natural world. Increasingly, we package both art and nature for our own convenience. We take a lot from the natural world as we move through it, and we take a lot for granted from the arts too. The way we behave is transactional, but not necessarily reciprocal.

By meaningfully situating Vend in its woodland location, it can help us unpack the specific value of the rural contemporary too. We have certain preconceived expectations of a visit to the forest, and certain preconceived expectations of rural artwork and artists. What does Vend mean in this place and space, as opposed to an urban location? Why does it feel so unexpected, so special? How does it shape our connection with the forest?

The installation itself is mechanical, low-impact, and portable in a rucksack. It is an old cigarette vending machine which once stood on a smoky bar or hotel reception desk, dispensing filterless Woodbines and John Player Specials (the brands are written, in old calligraphic handwriting, on the inside).

It feels satisfying to repurpose it out in the fresh air.



It required some small welds and a bit of fettling, but it now holds so much potential. The attraction of dispensing art in unexpected places, to audiences that would not necessarily visit a gallery, is exciting. It can make art extremely accessible. There is value in where it goes and what it means from here.

Explore more

Anne's other forest installation, Embed:


Photo credits: Colin Tennant for Upland CIC / Anne Waggot Knott

Welding: Andrew Waggot

Vend, Forest Floor and The Un-Map were conceived as part of ROAM (West), an experimental project to explore the potential for ambitious contemporary art in rural western Galloway. Anne worked in collaboration with Upland CIC and six other artists whose work was also exhibited: Del Whitticase, Frances Ross, Hope London, Jack Y Tan, Sarah Stewart, and Savannah Crosby. Roam (West) was supported by Creative Scotland, Upland CIC, and the artists themselves.

Thanks to Kilsture Forest and its Trustees for hosting our pop-up exhibition.

Thank you to all the visitors at Kilsture Roaming, August 2023, for bearing with us through Storm Betty (link to blog) and taking the time to connect with the forest and with our art.


Anne Waggot Knott is an artist and geographer with a focus on human connections - and disconnections - with the world around us. She splits her time between creating her own artworks, conceptual project work, carefully chosen public engagement, and creatively-rooted consultancy.