Friday, 21 November 2014

Stave Hill Manifesto (in the making)

It’s been a month now since I’ve started working at Stave Hill.  I’ve been creating site responsive work using mostly materials found there. Over this period the leaves have started to turn shades of yellow and red and the thinning tree canopies have let more light in, prompting new growth, even at the onset of winter. It is constant change and renewal in the park and I am a mere witness to all this as I make my own humble interventions.

weaving with brambles -
Brancusi's endless column revisited

With each new piece, ideas for more spring to mind and I can imagine spending a good number of  seasons in the park making with more of the plants growing all around me. Time then to harness this momentum and evaluate what I've done to plan for future projects. My plan from the start was to curate exhibitions and events at Stave Hill, inviting other artists to contribute to these, as well as make my own work. Drafting a set of guiding principles for making work in the park would help at this stage. So what would these be?

Rehearsing the Festival of Thrift
installation project

Here are three that spring to mind immediately:
·      use only materials found or used on site
·      make site responsive / site specific work
·      plan for the works to be installed temporarily only

plastic bags and blackthorn -
new life for old rubbish

It’s not exactly poetry, but it’s a start. I’ll be adding to the list in weeks to come. The interest in working in the park should come from the possibility of transforming places (and moments) into something else than what they are by using a restricted palette of materials such as earth, water, plant life only. A challenge in some ways, but in the words of land artist Michael Heizer, 'let's not underestimate dirt'.

Breaking the rules above already...
What are they for after all?

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