In addition to the two winning proposals from Maria Fusco and Adrian Jackson in collaboration with Andrea Zimmerman, the panel received over 700 ideas in 2014, this is a selection of some of the best submissions.
All ideas remain the intellectual property of the respective applicants.
By artist surname or name of collective:
In the face of a horrifying scene perceived as disturbing, our instinct is to avert the gaze or shut our eyes. In the immediacy of such circumstances, the ‘shutting’ of one’s ears, however, is impossible; therefore, the crux of disconcerting events is most commonly heard rather than seen. It is on this premise that the Earwitness Theatre is based, a radio theatre exploring the implications of hearing as a means of witnessing, investigating its versatility and reliability as well as how auditory association is invariably linked to the human faculty for memory.
Earwitness Theatre is a project in collaboration with foley engineers (sound effects specialists), forensic acousticians, scenographers, dramaturgists and witnesses to crimes and human rights violations. It’s intention is to produce a new form of radio theatre in which dramatic aesthetics meet laboratory conditions in an attempt to operate beyond both the realms of radio drama and legal advocacy, respectively; using the techniques of radio fiction to actively attempt to unfold the 'truth' of actual events. The semi fictional results of this theatrical production and radio broadcast thus acts as a means to inform an alternative understanding of the stakes involved in the act of listening as well as an acknowledgement of the role our acoustic environment plays as we reincarnate the ephemeral auditory event embedded in the memory of its witness.
Typifying the nature of the crimes that the earwitness theatre will attempt to investigate is the story of Fabian Bengtsson, the Chief Executive of one of the major Swedish electronics companies, SIBA, who was kidnapped under gun threat by two men who kept him for seventeen days in a narrow wooden case. The purpose: to blackmail his family. Fabian Bengtsson never saw his kidnappers, however he could hear them speak and he also made other auditory observations. The kidnapping fortunately ended well. After his release, Fabian’s thorough observations of, for example, regarding the voices of his captors as well as what time the delivery car of a well-known ice cream company passed by outside, enabled the police to find the apartment where he had been held and to eventually find the suspects. Through appropriating the techniques of radio drama and sound effects the Earwitness theatre will thus become the perfect site for this kind of forensic auditory investigation whilst also producing an engaging and dramatic auditory experience for the radio listeners at home.
On the one hand, the project will incorporate the use of listening experiments borrowed from the field of forensic acoustics, whereby witness’ ability to identify voices and other sounds is examined. On the other hand, the project appropriates the vast array of acoustic objects and sonic apparatus used in radio dramas in order to enable the listener to perceive the acoustic space occupied by the protagonists of the radio drama. For example objects commonly used in radio theaters include; diverse types of doors and locks (including car-doors, prison-doors, thick external doors and thinner interior doors, a single staircase featuring different textural surfaces (marble, wood and gravel), as well as acoustic architecture that allows viewers to hear themselves as if they were in the far distance.
Similar instruments/sculptures will be specially designed and built for the performance and installation of the Earwitness Theatre. A collection of mobile-door instruments, a multi-surface short staircase and a series of acoustic baffles, which can be used to expand and contract the acoustic space will be but a few of the objects exhibited in the Earwitness theatre. Once the performances have been completed the microphones used to record and broadcast the performance/experiment will be inverted and thus function as small loudspeakers playing back the sounds of the surrounding sculptures so that the space of the theatre converts from sound-lab/studio/theatre into a large scale installation in which the audience is free to explore and question their own relationship to the acoustic quality of objects.
As well as the witnesses to the incidents in question the production of the Earwitness theatre will also involve as main protagonists, Hollywood foley artist Gary Hecker, whose job entails the artificial production of the sonic signature associated with almost every conceivable object. As well as Glenn Griffith, who – as an emergency call operator – has been the auditory witness of thousands of emergencies and has therefore learned how to accurately identify the acoustics of crime scenes.
Using a combination of forensic and fiction this project will mix both the voices of people and objects together in the production of short theatrical radio broadcasts and a large scale sound installation that both seek to investigate the veracity of audible memories. This project intends to raise fundamental questions concerning how we hear the world around us.
Carlisle has an industrial legacy which contained two world famous companies, Cowan Sheldon arguably the largest fabricator of cranes in the world and Carr’s Biscuit Factory still operating under McVities still one of the worlds most famous producer of biscuits with its signature biscuit the water biscuit.
[Carlisle] hath three entrances by gates, strongly fortified; that to the west is called the English gate, one to the south is called the Irish gate, and another northward is called the Scotch gate (Shaddongate) ...
The proposal is to create a signature piece of a replica of a 1930’s crane by Cowan Sheldon for one of the three Carlisle gates (which no longer exist) there are two proposals one which unites two iconic world famous industries Cowan Sheldon who made cranes for the world up until twenty years ago linked with Carr’s biscuits (the latter still going strong and may become involved). The piece should be looked upon as a story rather than as a symbol.
The structure would be approx twenty meters high it would consist of steel with holographic coating, bronzing, gilding and neon.
The second version would involve much the same crane structure but with the replacement of the water biscuit with a gilded star taken from the ceiling of Carlisle Cathedral. The latter would fit in with a fairly recent proposal to seek to change the image of Carlisle by the late leader of the Council who sadly died a few months ago. But in discussions with him I suggested the change of name from “Carlisle the Border City” to “Carlisle The North Star.” He also identified a large site at the ScotchGate/Shadonngate city entrance.
The crane itself would be fabricated from steel as the original one was but it would be coated with a holographic coating which changes color responding to the light. The biscuit would be coated with bronze.
The pickaxe, the angel’s wing (from the medieval coat of arms on the town hall). and the shovel representing the industries of Cumbria would be gilded.
The neon flame would be a major signature seen from the surrounding area and reflecting the major industries of Cumbria…the brightly flame lit sky of Workington steel works/the mining tradition and the railway industry… another major historical industry in Carlisle.
The postmodern post historical mixture of techniques and variety of materials is an intentional reflection of both the industrial heritages of Cumbria as a whole and Carlisle in particular.
Set amongst monumental landscapes, we propose to construct sculptural, purpose built MMA (infamously known as cage fighting) arenas & organise a series of battles from within them. The Cages will house physical matter on the floors(i.e. clay from the China clay quarry in Cornwall)that will be altered during live happenings.
Bulwark Stronghold mimics a machine as well as a monumental, mountainous terrain showcasing a live fight scenario. The fighters will take part in regulated events harvesting extreme forcefulness and power. The live 'events' would be made available to the public, it would also become a multidimensional piece of film. The arena itself acts as a sculpture, whilst also constantly remodelling and producing sculptural matter from within.
We feel the locations proposed would lend themselves to primitive yet futuristic and monumental battle scenarios. The varying landscapes also holding different effects on the fighters. I.e high altitude and clay matter whilst also producing varying sculptural products.
We feel this fortress-like install acts a monumental, sculptural chamber built for the fight. Our interest lies in the unbalance within the fighters’ intuitive structure', interfering with their unfamiliar space and circumstance causing a disturbance within their natural and instinctive approach to the sport whilst regarding or honouring the mountain and creating a constant stream of sculptural matter.
Our interest lies in the collision of energy and the matter formulated from these 'staged events' whilst also creating sculptures from the unpredictable situations that undertake force, energy, collision and renewal.
The project stems from our fascination in spontaneous order and the creative act itself. The machine-like appliance takes ideas from the early Geologist Bailey Willis and his theory on how mountains are made, a process which involves layers of matter which over time collide and break, but in turn form a monumental product-the mountain.
ATOI (Amy Thomas and Oliver Irvine) have worked in collaboration over the past six years. The duo formed from a shared interest in using sculpture as a means of creating psychological situations, installations, performances and sculptural environments. In their time collaborating they have exhibited extensively throughout Europe, with solo shows in China at CEAC and major large-scale immersive installations at the Tate Modern Tanks, Tate Britain and the Garage Centre For Contemporary Culture in Moscow. They have also instigated many projects, and two galleries in the UK.
ATOI'S work is heavily influenced by the process of creation through the use of their materials and concepts their work plays with, questioning instinct aggressively and the creative act itself. This has been explored in recent projects whereby ATOI has been reworking the canvases of a deceased painter in a sculptural manner, utilising cage fighters in live situations to deconstruct the gallery as a sculpture, and also using the public as a means to generate mass sculptures through destructive components.
Recently ATOI has also been working with live cage fighters, bulls, horses and dogs and placing them into manipulated and sometimes even controlled scenarios whereby these live elements have total or a lack of control over what's produced. ATOI feel creating these psychological situations not only creates an unbalance within the intuitive structure, but also allows for an unorthodox conclusion.
ATOI's intention and interest lie in the collision of energy and the matter and formulations created from the consequences from these 'staged events' and creating sculptures from the unpredictable situations that undertake force, energy, collision and renewal. Their work is heavily rooted in material and matter and the concept of taking the work out of the "creators" hands. They have been influenced by physics and geology. In particular, geologist Bailey Willis and his theory on how mountains are made, a process which involves layers of matter which over time collide and break, but in turn form a monumental product-the mountain.
The Auracle is both sculpture and instrument, suspended in mid-air in the middle of a forest. It is a cube made from pianos otherwise headed for the scrap yard. Hanging from cables anchored in surrounding trunks, it’s hyper-resonant soundboards and strings, still intact, respond to the sounds of the forest.
One thing about pianos that even the most unmusical person will tell you, is that they are very heavy. The Auracle is made not just from one but from three, and hangs between 10 and 20 feet off the ground. Suspending such an object from trees starts to look like a suspension of disbelief. A structure of necessary rigidity, attached to trees of adequate thickness by cables of known strength, will not buckle or fall; but it will seem impossible that it should not.
This beautifully crafted chamber is an artist’s response to the quiet death of the piano in modern domestic culture. Its materials are sourced from the steady stream of instruments heading for scrapyards: pianos at the end of their lifespan that are no longer able to hold their tuning and, in want of expensive restoration, are sent for destruction.
The forest is the primary sonic animating agent. In addition to the music of the structure itself – its wires creaking like a ship at sea, its natural amplification of the sounds of the surrounding forest – responsive mechanisms inside the cube will harness and interpret its movement.
Whether this is upcycling, recycling, reimagining or just a tidy bit of carpentry, the sculpture presents an opportunity for the visitor to look and listen. As you wander through the forest glade, it is the light plucking of the strings you will encounter first, before you catch sight of the suspended cube.
The Auracle can also be played by a musician, who would enter the sculpture via a retractable ladder to play the cube from the inside. In the first year of it’s life, leading electronic artist Leafcutter John will play a series of concerts from inside the cube – 1 for each season – as the surrounding natural state of the forest changes throughout the year.
The Auracle is intended as a permanent or semi-permanent installation, which can be visited by the general public at a site within England’s Public Forestry Estate. The exact location within a forest needs to be accessible but ideally quiet and secluded, allowing the installation to create its own atmosphere and give the visitor a sense of walking into another realm. It is intended for people from any walk of life, of any age.
To suspend the Auracle in mid-air, the use of cables attached to Garnier Limbs or equivalent will be undertaken in collaboration with tree suspension specialists. This will ensure minimal damage to tree limbs. The extended team will include a structural engineer and biomechanics expert to ensure the tree fixings are both safe and non-invasive. An arboriculturalist will risk-assess the trees before and after installation.
A coating of epoxy resin will protect Auracle from the effects of weathering. While it’s estimated lifespan is finite (approx 10 years), this transience serves the themes of transformation and renewal, and the reality of eventual deterioration lends a live quality to the piece.
Potential locations are currently being sought, and a conversation has been started with Kelburn Castle.
Max Baillie is one of the most versatile and sought-after musicians in the UK. A creative force in his own right, Max is engaged in a spectrum of projects which include writing and producing music for dance and film, working with composers on new commissions and collaborating with visual artists, writers, puppeteers and musicians from all over the globe. The Auracle has the potential to become a unique location for experimental performance, curated by Max.
Producer Amy Rose is resident at the Pervasive Media Studio as one-half of interactive installation design duo Anagram. Working with creative technologists from this hub of innovation, Amy frequently collaborates on projects that embed sound and visuals within the user experience. Possible associated development around the sculpture could include: building an associated interactive online platform using sound recordings from the sculpture or stories around the piano; using invisible location-triggered sound in the forest area surrounding the sculpture; building light installations in the forest to accompany concerts at night.
Tim Vincent Smith
As a builder of structures, I have tried to befriend gravity. There is an art, not only to holding up physical mass, but also to making it seem to carry itself lightly. Three piano fronts on the three mutually perpendicular faces of a cube, rotated up to stand on its point will do this. Our usual expectation of the vertical attitude of the piano to gravity is confused. Which way is down? Three different downs are suggested by the three different attitudes of the three pianos, none of which points downwards.
Even before they are made into pianos, trees are alive with sound. Perhaps pianos are only repeating what they have heard? Wind through branches might cause a suspended piano cube to sway gently. Cables might creak like a ship or sing in the manner of an Aeolian harp, and that haunting, singing and creaking – as you will know if you have ever sung near to a piano or creaked a stiff soft pedal – is picked up by the strings as they resonate in harmony.
Imagine then, the sonic possibilities that such an instrument might present to the inventive and adventurous musician in live performance.
A celebration of common land
The Debatable Lands will take the form of a large-scale May Day carnivalesque spectacle on rural common land. Commemorating 200 years since the main Enclosure Acts fenced off vast sections of common land into private ownership, forcing many of the poorest off the land, the project will take elements from history, folklore and literature to create a dialogue between now and then. There will be a procession and a large-scale theatrical performance merging film, illusion, actors and music that will attempt to raise awareness of these liminal spaces and symbolically unite the spirit of the remaining U.K. common lands in all their forms.
The name Debatable Lands refers to an anarchic area of nomansland between Scotland and England that was considered lawless and ungovernable by both Scottish and English rulers for over 300 years. I want to extend the term to consider ideas around borders and boundaries and common land in the U.K. during a time that commemorates the centenary of the First World War, and the Scottish vote on independence. My focus will be on the time 200 years ago when the majority of the Enclosure Acts in England were implemented and the Highland Clearances took place in Scotland. Millions of acres of land that had previously been open and communally used and farmed were taken into private ownership and fenced off, denying access to many who had relied on them for survival.
I have always been interested in the idea of common land and all my work is concerned with a sense of place. Growing up in a small village in the south-west of England I was very conscious of the surrounding landscape. Our house was at the edge of medieval coppiced forest, once common land but now fenced with Private Property signs attached to the trees. I climbed through the barriers and roamed freely as a child, moving beyond the trees to remains of medieval fishponds and signs of what would have been communal farming land. In places such as this the past is clearly visible within the present, darker lines in the grass reveal the disturbed earth footings of old buildings and myth and history become entwined.
The Debatable Lands project will begin by researching documentary evidence, folklore, songs and literature relating to common land as well as considering the border areas of the country and what these signify today. After enclosure, the plight of the thousands of displaced rural poor was championed by the likes of William Cobbett in his Rural Rides, the poems of John Clare and Oliver Goldsmith whose Deserted Village warns of the avarice of the landowner who clears the village to make way for his bucolic park. These literary sources together with the archaic vocabulary used to describe ancient laws unique to Commoning will all be examined. I would hope to form a collective of 21st century Commoners, including musicians, poets, writers, dancers and local people, to help me devise the event.
The event will begin with a costumed procession to make the beating of the bounds – a mental mapping of common parish boundaries on foot, an ancient practise in which parish boundary stones around the perimeter of the lands were beaten with branches. It is still legal for village officers to bring the ceremony onto land that is now privately owned in order to cover the original boundaries of the parish. This physical mapping will be echoed in the project by a vast embroidered map, made by volunteers, showing all the areas of remaining common land in the U.K. – a needlepoint beating of the bounds. It will form a canopy/backdrop to the main refreshment area on the common. At dusk there will be a theatrical performance combining voice, music, song, projections on smoke and other illusionistic tableaux that together will create a fragmentary dialogue between 21st century Commoners and historical narratives of those forced out of the landscape after the Enclosure Acts. The setting will preferably be at the edge of a forest so that performed moments can take place at varying distances from the spectators in the receding space through the trees. The common itself will act as projection screen and will open up with multiple images of diverse other areas of common land that I will have filmed over preceding months in order to create a filmic bringing together of the commons.
The location could be in one of three villages in England called Nomansland – a name that reveals its usage as common land. Nomansland in Hertfordshire has a particularly vivid past including a battle; an 18th century female highwayman; an agricultural workers union strike in 1872 and an escaped Bengal tiger shot and stuffed by a local farmer.
The Debatable Lands will build on a recent project I devised in the West Bank of Palestine called The Logic of the Birds which worked to imagine a unified sense of place beyond the imposition of both visible and invisible boundaries. The work incorporated a research publication, performance, exhibition, the making of a film and a public discussion in Ramallah entitled The Re-Imagined Landscape. The main component was a processional public walking performance in a remote valley near the Jordan Valley. At intervals along the walk, costumed actors read extracts in Arabic from a 12th century Sufi poem which describes a spiritual migration of birds setting out on a journey over difficult terrain in search of a leader, only to realise that as a collective group they already are the leader. This text resonated both with the importance of the area as a major route for bird migration as well as with the recent form of a collective presence to activate change.
I hope Debatable Lands will open up questions about our contemporary relationship with the landscape and raise awareness and respect for the marginal places and their histories that have and should continue to remain in communal custody.
The spectator arrives at the door of an ordinary London Victorian house but once they have passed through the doorway, they become a ghost in the home of Arthur Munby. The ghosts are free to move through the house and experience the atmosphere, the sounds, the smells and to read private papers and look at private photographs. They also encounter Arthur Munby and Hannah Cullwick.
Rafe Beckley and Liv Spencer, the artists, will be living continuously as Munby and Cullwick for a period of 30 days. Their routines and relationship will be recreated according to the detailed diaries and papers held at Trinity College, Cambridge and with the assistance of specialist historians. We believe a collection of Munby’s photographs are also held at the Tate.
Cullwick and Munby
Arthur Munby instructed Hannah Cullwick to keep a detailed daily record of her tasks. This record has given historians a unique insight into the 16 hour work days of the Victorian maid of all work. Cullwick also extended her diary to record her relationship with Munby: a strong love and a particular respect for each other’s position in society (Munby had a robust admiration for strong working women and Cullwick was pleased to be Munby’s “drudge and slave”.)
Even after their secret marriage in 1873, Cullwick still worked for Munby and would go to him in her dirt to describe her day’s work. Her diaries contain details of pleasure in cleaning boots (even licking them clean) and going up the chimney semi-naked until her skin was quite black with soot. Cullwick insisted on retaining her own name and Munby continued to pay her wages so that she could maintain her independence.
Munby and Cullwick’s physical relationship was a master-slave relationship (Cullwick wore a locked chain about her neck to which Munby had the key) but also included elements of infantilism (Cullwick would carry Munby round the kitchen and sit him on her knee).
Munby’s residence was at 6 Fig Tree Court, Inner Temple, London which no longer exists. We would like to approach the Honourable Society of Inner Temple and ask if they have any property that they would allow us to use in the Inner Temple
Another option is Carlyle’s House on Cheyne Row which is run by the National Trust but is closed in the winter. We anticipate that this could be a collaboration with the National Trust.
There are also many Victorian properties in London that might be used for the project and this could perhaps remain as testament to Cullwick’s and Munby’s lives thereafter.
On the surface, we would like to use this piece to challenge the viewers’ preconceptions about Victorian men and women and their attitude to class, gender and sexuality. Underneath, however, we believe that this piece is importantly a reflection of a world where people step outside Society’s pronouncement on how we should or should not behave – pronouncements that still exist today. Cullwick and Munby are people who made a decision to live their own lives according to their own rules and boundaries.
The Victorian middle-classes were avid explorers, collectors and classifiers, fascinated with the need to preserve, conserve and display the objects they found. The era witnessed the growth of the postal system, colonial bureaucracy and the birth and commercialisation of photography.
The Spicer Brothers were Southwark based family firm of Stationers who expanded into the rapidly growing area of paper manufacture, printing and early photographic equipment. Local warehouses in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Bristol were complimented by offices in Belfast, Liverpool, Edinburgh. Internationally they had warehouses in Melbourne and Durban with offices in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Wellington (New Zealand), Cape Town, and Paris as well as a subsidiary company in Africa. In 1851 the company was awarded the contract to print the official catalogue of the Great Exhibition, Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, 1851; Reports by the Juries on The Subjects in the Thirty Classes into which the Exhibition was Divided.
Works of industry of all nations explores the bureaucracy of empire and trade, relating it to todays digitised global network of trade and migration. It questions the nature of representation, ownership and visibility in an environment which systematically categorises and processes humans and the objects they produce and consume as visual data. It also questions our current interest in heritage, preservation, and authenticity and with capturing and keeping moments in time through the framing device of a lens. The Victorians instrumentalised data collection and processing, in order to maintain empire and other structures. Today, the digitisation of the image has created a rush to document the world, but does this go beyond the simple act of documentation?
Researching and re-imagining the technologies that were showcased at the Great Exhibition, the 1862 London exhibition and the 1889 Crystal Palace Photographic exhibition, and drawing on illustrations and technical descriptions from Victorian journal The Engineer, I want to create machines to capture images, and process salt and paper to make the earliest form of light sensitive paper. On the first level of the warehouse, Salted paper prints will hang alongside the machines, ostensibly a visual record of objects shown in the Great Exhibition, the works of industry of all nations.
The next level of the warehouse will house a collection of objects without labels, and orphan labels which describe objects. The labels are another level of data collection and also erasure, with the object or journey left to the imagination. Meanwhile, the objects will have been subjected to various attempts to preserve them using technologies borrowed from the Victorian era and on show in the Great Exhibition.
Hidden on an upper floor will be a secret laboratory where early experiments in colour film are in process. In 1926, Spicer Brothers set up the company Spicer-Dufay and asked T. Thorne-Baker, a colour expert, to secretly continue research into the possibilities of color film which had been started by Louis Dufay, in France, as the Diopticolore Process. 1931 Dufaycolor was presented at a Royal Society meeting, and then at the British Kinematograph Society and was used for a period before being superseded by cheaper film processes.
The images, labels and objects will also form a digital 'archive' that proposes a quasi-history of trade and exploration whilst leaving obvious gaps either in the description or in the actual objects. This archive could invite viewers to propose their own ideas to fill in the gaps, online, making the project reach beyond London and the UK.
Development of the artwork
55 Great Southwark Street is a grade 2 listed warehouse in Southwark which is currently standing empty as the plot is shared between the council and owners. The building is currently boarded up but has been used in the past by arts groups and is in a condition which would be possible to use for a public art installation. There would need to be a negotiation process in order to take over the space for a temporary period, install the work and open it to the public.
I would also plan to work with design historians, industrial historians and engineers to develop the 'machines', and to choose a selection of objects to document. I would approach film historians to develop the Dufaycolor part of the installation. As there are still paper companies in the area I would approach them to supply paper for the project. I have previously made salted paper prints.In developing the digital archive I would need the support of a web designer and potentially to be able to get advice from and link to an existing web-based archival project.
I am interested in obsolete processes and memory, and I have made both installation and artwork in public spaces which re-imagine obsolete or past technologies and processes. For the past 3 years I have been exploring the histories and technologies of salt, which was once a valuable commodity and means of exchange, and this has lead me to experiment with salted paper printing and other uses of salt which connect to memory and preservation. I've also been working on an ongoing project, Origination (with Rebecca Beinart) which explores our family history and its links to trade, empire and migration.
Works of industry of all nations brings these themes together, drawing on industrial and technological history, as well as the history of image-making, and of collecting, trade and empire. Bringing these histories into contemporary London and responding to a local site with global connections, the work seeks to ask questions that are vital to address in the city today.
This longlisted idea is not publicly available for the moment.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi
truth-force is a proposal for a film work using newly shot footage filmed (using a kaleidoscopic lens) on location in the state of Gujarat, India, and to be screened as a single channel film work in an alternative site in London and in Lancashire, UK. The work revisits the most profound performance and protest art in history – Gandhi's 1930 Salt March from Subarmati in Ahmedabad to Navsari at the river's estuary. A journey 240 miles, it was a twenty-four-day happening which precipitated the end of British colonial rule of India. My film proposal and which re-visits the event will be edited down to a ratio of one minute per day and will be twenty-four minutes in length in total. It starts at the end point of Gandhi's march / journey and works in reverse, concluding at the beginning.
The Salt March was based on Gandhi's principles of non-violent protest called satyagraha, derived from the Sanskrit for truth (satya) and for force (agraha).
Ostensibly, Gandhi's ideology of peaceful protest to effect real change bears huge relevance in today's climate of corporate power, greed, and totalitarian rule. Gandhi’s march a tale of biblical proportions – David and Goliath – the film narrative is here distilled and simply begs the question, “where are we now, and what went wrong?”
In essence, the Salt March (Salt Satyagraha) entailed an epic journey on foot along which route Gandhi stopped at various points to produce salt without paying tax, and thereby breaking the British Raj salt laws. This simple action triggered similar large-scale acts of civil disobedience by millions of Indians and it is estimated that over 80,000 Indians were jailed by the British consequent of the Salt Satyagraha. The campaign prompted large numbers of Indians to join the fight for the first time and also had a significant impact on shifting world and British attitudes to Indian Independence.
This film proposal is intended as a poetic narrative in which the use of a kaleidoscopic lens is intended to function metaphorically for the eye – multiple rather than singular. Almost as if seen from the compound eye of a fly on a wall. It is also intended to activate a sense of motion sickness on a formal level as we encounter the visual information before us. Using a time ratio of one minute to one day the work proposes to revisit in reverse order the sites at which Gandhi stopped to make salt. The plan at this point is to accommodate interviews with subjects who currently live in these places and to ask their views of what really has changed – if anything – and their views on the significance of the historic act which had long before occurred in this very place. At this stage, my proposal is to conclude with a final shot of Gandhi’s starting place and to allow this image to disappear to an ever-diminishing circle (dot) on the screen. The symbolic use of the circle – as with the kaleidoscopic eyes – is a subtle play on the cycle of life and death.
As the artist and director, at this stage, I am a fly on the wall since I have no real expectation as to what responses locally will result by way of the contemporary filmed commentary. This, I believe to be integral and important to the context of how the film may develop formally in the making and within the post-production editing process. What I hope will be an outcome, nonetheless, is the significance of the moment both past and in the present in terms of the philosophical questions that this momentous act raised for all humankind. To this extent, I believe this work is timely in today’s desperate times and in a climate often devoid of any human regard.
The proposal will be shot in colour, and include sound. I would ideally like to collaborate on the soundtrack for this work with the following potential musicians: Ry Cooder and V.M. Bhatt; John McLaughlin and Shakti. Failing this, some brilliant tabla percussionists.
I will be drawing on my previous experience in directing and producing short art house films (on 35mm format and on 16mm format) and gained working in various locations in the UK, Canada, San Francisco and Varanasi (India).
Proposed Treatment of truth-force:
For further information regarding my film works, please see the following website. Please note that not all of my film works have been uploaded onto this site:
A team of choreographers with a specialist knowledge of African American dance would work with a major UK Ballet Company to create a new stage production, A Brief History of African American Dance. This process would be recorded by a documentary team who would seek to capture the awkward transformation of the company as the stage production takes shape. The show would attempt to tell the story of the evolution of African American dance, from the earliest recorded dances of seventeenth-century slaves through to the jitterbug, body-popping, voguing and twerking, mixing group synchronisation and solo routines.
The performance would contain at least one step from each of the following dances, in order, consecutively:
Novo Oresteia will be a multi-sited production of Aeschylus’ trilogy, The Oresteia, to be co-produced, adapted, cast, costumed, designed, scored, directed, location-sought and performed live by diverse residents, workers and citizens of the London Borough of Hackney amidst the histories of political resistance and the contemporaneous regeneration/gentrification of Clapton/Dalston/Stoke Newington/Hackney Wick.
Novo Oresteia seeks to engage with and advance the prevalent debate on collaboration and participation within contemporary arts practice whilst interrogating how participation and democratic governance remains a legacy of ‘Classic Greek’ notions of the State. The only surviving Greek trilogy from Antiquity, The Oresteia examines authority from monarchy to self-governance; organisation from primitive ritual to civilised institution and susceptibility from vengeance to regeneration. This is a work for mass participation that seeks to mobilise and enflame a neighbourhood by developing an economy of collaboration between instigators, infra-structuralists, residents, workers, dilettantes, activists and professionals allowing for both resisters and prosumers to co-produce an artwork based on critical dissidence.
Novo Oresteia’s instigative concept is that: the workers, reformers, regenerators, voters, residents, activist communities and citizens of the London Borough of Hackney establish a form of governance by which they then mount a large-scale, mass participatory production of Aeschylus’ trilogy The Oresteia amidst multiple contemporary and historic sites. Throughout its instigative and production phases Novo Oresteia will be informed by a citizen’s court, at which juries of citizens will publicly judge and make decisions regarding the project’s development, foci and its means and conditions of production. Each jury will make recommendations for the next phase of work by judging the opinions, concepts, recommendations and proposals being made by multiple witnesses including cultural and community representatives, elected members and MPs, philosophers, regenerators, small business owners, activists, artists and creatives towards the realisation of Novo Oresteia. This production should occur within multiple sites of the neighbourhood; involve as many people as possible, and emerge through the human, social, financial, physical and environmental assets that the project can assimilate and generate.
Through developing a mass collaborative and intra-Hackney sited adaptation and production of The Oresteia, this project will reveal a civic consideration of how classic Greek notions of the state have provided us with concepts of justice, citizenship and governance. Simultaneously, it offers potential for a wide-range of forces, economies and modes of creativity to be engaged such as hairdressers, nail technicians, tailors, stylists, shoemakers and cosmetic trainees as a costume dept.; creative writing groups, spoken word performers etc. as a literary adaptation dept.; individuals as cast, accompanied by communities of interest, organisational representatives, business representatives, civil servants and civil services as chorus; community centres, historic sites, business venues, pop-ups and domestic spaces as venues; to tradespeople as scenographers and manufacturers of sets – all through the assembly of multiple caucuses of the organisation of independents and the systematised.
In terms of its histories of DIY cultures, protest and resistance movements, and self-organised initiatives the London Borough of Hackney, post Olympics, alongside its unique history of radicalism, provides a significant site for the development, location and conceptual drive of this work. Amidst its regeneration many of the buildings, houses, estates and public spaces in which its histories were made remain, despite their re-allocation to other purposes.
From the late 1700s, Stoke Newington was the home of major abolitionists, many now buried at Abney Cemetery, London’s first secular graveyard. Mary Wollstonecraft initiated a school at Newington Green. Lower Clapton was the site of the New College where Richard Price, Joseph Priestley and Gilbert Wakefield organised lectures on the French Revolution in 1793. In the mid C19, Hackney led on the opposition to the Sunday Trading Bill to outlaw shopping on Sunday and the Hackney Radical Club, one of the first working men’s clubs, was established. Kropotkin attended the club for the Social Revolutionary and Anarchist Congress in Homerton, closed by the police for its radical stance leading to Hackney becoming a national centre for British anarchism and anarcho-communism. The Freedom Press was established. At the turn of C21 Hackney Trades Council was founded. WW1 saw anti-war agitation and by 1919 The Labour Party became the majority in Hackney Council for the first time leading to Hackney Trades Council’s contribution to the general strike by founding the HQ at Kenmure Road, E8.
Mid C20 saw support for the CNT in Spain, the establishment of the Hackney Anti-Fascist Committee, the Battle of Cable Street and a second agitation against war. Mosley’s British Union of Fascists meetings in the area were stopped by Jewish ex-service-men. By 1950, the Hackney Communist Party was active, with the East London Libertarian group and the East London Anti-Fascist Co-ordinating Committee. The first anti-H bomb march occurred. In the late 60s the Angry Brigade firebombed Barclay’s Bank in Stoke Newington and the London Squatting Campaign was founded. The early 1970s saw continual struggles around housing, homelessness, slums and council redevelopment plans. The Angry Brigade were raided and tried. The Women’s Movement brought the Lenthal Rd. Print Workshop and established a Hackney caucus for Greenham Common. The police came under target through the deaths of two men including one stabbed by the NF and Colin Roach being killed in Stoke Newington Police Station by a gunshot leading to the publication of Policing In Hackney 1945-1984 by the Roach Family Support Committee. The Nightingale Estate’s pirate radio station, Rush FM was raided and closed down in the early 1990s. At the turn of the millennium Harry Stanley was fatally shot by the police leading to a further justice campaign. Following the death of Mark Duggan in Tottenham in August 2011, Hackney also became a site of rioting and looting in what was described by the police as ‘Blackberry Rioting’.
Currently, Hackney is witnessing a burgeoning regeneration and change process in part through an entrepreneurial assimilation of the sensibilities of DIY cultures: pop-up shops, supper clubs, occasional cinemas; book, vintage and design shops; new bars, clubs and event venues; open air trading markets, street food festivals and small scale artist-led initiatives such as Hackney’s empty shops scheme. Hackney Council states that there has been 21% business growth since 2004, nearly double London's rate and concentrated primarily in media, technology and consulting. Between 1994 and 2007, Hackney saw a 27% drop in VAT-registered manufacturing businesses. The manufacturing workspaces are being filled with creative and technology businesses.
With the arrival of the new London Overground network at Dalston Junction and Dalston Kingsland stations, Dalston is now connected to the four corners of the capital. Dalston Square is the largest new public space to be created in the area for more than 100 years, with 600 new homes being built around it, as well as numerous retail opportunities. Hackney Wick on the edge of the Olympic Park is home to one of London's fastest-growing business and creative communities. The former mills and plastics factories now house over 600 creative industry workspaces. Around this is a growing café, arts and culture scene with festivals, pop-ups and restaurants. Wick is home to almost a third of the Olympic Park and multi-million-pound plans are in place to improve Hackney Wick Overground station during the next three years. This investment will transform the area around the station to access business spaces, restaurants, new homes, cafés, shops and parklands and a 6,000-seat multi-use venue.
Novo Oresteia will investigate the complexities of DIY dynamics, processes of influence and decision-making at a crucial moment of neoliberal politics and economics, through turning towards an adaptation of The Oresteia, in order to platform a debate on governance, democracy, radical histories and regeneration through a collective realisation of a theatre of participation.
Location: Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon. Gravity Marker towers sixty feet out of the Lagoon, releasing daily in response to the lunar tide cycle an explosive jet of water and a sonorous sound, marking for 30 seconds the rise or the fall of the tide. A celebration of nature’s power, ad infinitum.
The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is a world first, harnessing the power of the tide to generate 240MW of energy each year. It is also the world’s first power station that can be celebrated as a social resource, a place of play, scientific enquiry or as a cultural platform.
Gravity Marker is a metaphorical dragon, a tower of steel that rises out of the lagoon – a lunar machine of rods, levers and tanks that are revealed and hidden by the fall and rise of the tide (10m – 14m in Swansea Bay). Reaching high above the complexity of the mechanics is a steal constructed dragon’s neck and head that reaches high up above the Lagoon wall. As the tide falls, at a given point in time regulated by the building pressure, a large holding tank of water is realised en mass and funnelled up through the dragon head to release an explosion of water that falls over the tidal Lagoon wall. The technology is ancient, a gravity pump in reverse. At a second point in time, six hours later, the rising tide creates an air pressure in the tanks which when released is funnelled into a horn inside the head to produce the roar of the dragon. The explosion of water and the sea sound are Gravity Markers, celebration the earths most constant and fixed power, the rise and fall of the tide - the pull of gravity caused by the lunar cycle.
Gravity Marker is made of steel; above a complex network of tanks and pipes rises steel plates hung from each other like armour to give the form of a dragon. The next phase of the project is to work with structural and mechanical engineers to transform the proven technology of a gravity pump into a functioning artwork. The upper parts of the ‘sculpture’ will be coated stainless steel with the base a resilient sea-challenged resistant coating on steel. The engineering design will be done in the UK and the construction will be done at the steel factories of Port Talbot, six miles from Swansea and the eastern point of the tidal lagoon. There is a long tradition of sea and shipbuilding in the area and marine expertise will be utilised to the full to ensure Gravity Marker is powerful and resilient enough to withstand the forces of nature into the future.
The Gravity Marker rests midway along the lagoon; the promenade of the wall invites people to walk out into the sea beyond a visitor centre towards the turbine hall. Six kilometres out is the Gravity Marker, rising high out of the lagoon adjacent to the wall. Planning for the tower will have to be approved and it will need to be constructed alongside the building of the Lagoon.
The economic life span of the Swansea Tidal Lagoon is calculated for 120 years. At any point in time, for example, a particular Tuesday in June in 2057, the precise amount of energy generated by the Lagoon is known. It is one of five Tidal Lagoons proposed for the shores of the UK, each working in conjunction with the tide that will provide 10% of the UK’s energy needs. Tide in, tide out. The Lagoon sits on the shoreline of Swansea and it is an imperative that the city and its people celebrate its presence. Cape Farewell has been the Lagoon cultural partner since the outset, pioneering this power station as a social resource. For the University Marine department it will form a natural research laboratory, for sports enthusiast it is a giant lagoon of protected water, it is a tourist attraction and a place for culture and art. It also generates power equivalent to half a nuclear station. It is currently in the planning process and the Tidal Lagoon will be completed in spring 2017.
Cape Farewell is an artist-led project to champion climate change as a cultural challenge and to map a future independent of a carbon economy. Gravity Marker is an art proposal by the artist David Buckland, working independently, to create an artwork that celebrates nature’s power as a social resource.
Gravity Marker will be the fourth ‘sculpture’ made by the artist, each inspired to interrogate the climate challenge and how our habitat is under threat and why. Each artwork produced also celebrates knowledge and opportunity.
Art with the ambition to function as an agent of change is in dangerous territory. Gravity Marker obeys the timeless tradition of art: magical, present, playful, celebratory, edgy, challenging and hopefully visionary. It is on a grand scale and in this time of necessary change, nothing less will do.
Remembrance of the Creative Act will be a site-specific installation accompanied by a time-lapse film that represents the freezing and the melting away of a large ice formation. The shape will resemble a Lingam that appears in spring every year at the entrance of a forty-metre high cave, the holy shrine of Amarnath in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. The legend is that Shiva revealed the secret of creation to Parvati in this cave, and unknown to them a pair of mating doves overheard the conversation. Having learned the secret and made the cave their eternal nest, they are reborn again and again. Many pilgrims report seeing the pair of doves when trekking the traitorous route to pay obeisance before this Shivalingam, a phallic symbol of Lord Shiva, the representation of the generative power in nature. Furthermore by its side there are two more Ice Lingams that of Parvati and their son Ganesha.
I propose to recreate the conditions in and around the cave within an enclosed environment, such as laboratory, warehouse, storage room, disused industrial unit, and so on. With the use of custom-built icemaker and temperature control mechanism (apparatus), I intend to artificially recreate the cyclical process of the formation of an ice stalagmite, growing up vertically from floor to ceiling by dripping water and then melting it away. The process will be recorded with a time-lapse camera relayed on a monitor or a projection within or near the space, and/or streamed online for the duration of the project. The site will be accessible by the public and can be visited at regular intervals.
On a conceptual level, the installation will comment largely on thoughts about the post-object and earlier forms of post-minimalism and the art of natural kinesis from the 1960s.These ideas specifically correlate to Hans Haacke's Real-Time Systems body of works, such as Ice Stick (1966), currently in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and other seminal works like Spray of Ithaca Falls: Freezing and Melting on Rope, February 7, 8, 9 …1969 (1969), and Circulation also from 1969.
Reducing the work of art to a constellation of prosaic natural materials and technical devices, as well as ephemeral results, Haacke’s production had moved far away from what museums, collectors and dominant culture had made of art: a heroic mystery. – Hans Haacke, Phaidon, 2004, pp. 40 – 41
The Creative Act element in the title relates obliquely to Marcel Duchamp’s speech at the Convention of the American Federation of Arts in Houston, Texas in 1957, entitled The Creative Act. The contextual framework of my proposal is very much reflective on his idea that,
The creative act is not performed by the artist alone.
Therefore, I intend the installation to act correspondingly as a critique of the permutations and constants of acceptability dictated by the current models of the institutionalisation of art, whilst supporting its connectedness to preceding forms of expression.
Suppose it were perfectly certain that the life and fortune of every one of us would, one day or other, depend upon his winning or losing a game at chess. Don’t you think that we should all consider it to be a primary duty to learn at least the names and the moves of the pieces... Yet, it is a very plain and elementary truth that the life, the fortune, and the happiness of every one of us, and, more or less, of those who are connected with us, do depend upon our knowing something of the rules of a game infinitely more difficult and complicated than chess. It is a game which has been played for untold ages, every man and woman of us being one of the two players in a game of his or her own... To the man who plays well, the highest stakes are paid, with that sort of overflowing generosity with which the strong shows delight in strength. And one who plays ill is checkmated – without haste, but without remorse. – Thomas Henry Huxley
Much of our everyday experience on many levels is based on rules: of social interaction, commerce, law, governance. From the outside the rules may be known, fair, justified, accepted but once immersed in a given situation the nuances or application of these rules turn out to be anything but.
The Crucible is an interactive theatrical performance designed and created by temp0rary. Using a game of chess as an analogy, the audience will be invited to see this process made manifest, where the game appears balanced, yet the odds of winning are still stacked against them.
The audience are led into a performance space in the heart of the City of London. In the centre of the room is a chess set and a single seated figure. The performance begins with an ending; a previous game has been completed, and a defeated opponent is being led away. The seated man beckons for another opponent from the audience to compete for the ultimate prize, but with the ultimate stake. Will anyone in the audience be brave enough to accept the challenge?
From the moment the opponent accepts the challenge it will become apparent that this is no ordinary game of chess. Sensors will monitor the movements and vital signs of the opponent and adjust the environment to try and unsettle them. The board will change, subtly at first, almost imperceptibly. From then on, every move that is played will change the environment and attempt to break the concentration of the opponent.
While the focus may at first appear to be solely on the game, the rest of the audience will have their own parts to play. As the game unfolds, it will become apparent that it is not only the chess pieces on the board that are controlling the environment, but the actions of the audience as well. Through their presence as observers they will be able to influence the environment in which the game is played. Will the audience choose to assist the opponent, or create a more hostile and challenging environment to see how extreme things can become? The movements of the audience will be monitored, allowing them to influence proceedings, helping or perhaps hindering one or other of the players as they circle the table. A dance of favour will create a collective action involving everyone in the room.
The Crucible will combine elements of immersive theatre and performance with a fully integrated and interactive environment featuring a wide array of sensors which will trigger elements of surround sound, projection mapping and theatrical lighting effects to create the increasingly intense experience, where every move towards victory results in a descent further into madness. The exact nature of the performance will be determined by the chess game that is played during the performance, the way the opponent responds to the environment, and the interaction of the audience as the spectacle of the game reaches its conclusion. As is true of a game of chess, no two performances will be the same.
The Crucible builds on previous theatrical immersive multimedia performances by temp0rary that have explored the human condition in extreme states.
Tempting Failure, created in collaboration with performance artist Traumata was performed as the closing act of the extreme arts festival Tempting Failure at The Island in Bristol on 6th April 2013. The performance began as an installation piece in which an array of sonar sensors detected the proximity of audience members and triggered sound waves at the resonant frequency of the space, turning the entire building into an instrument. A full body suspension was then performed, at the same time reading the EEG brain waves of the suspended body and translating this into music and visual elements whilst the audience and performers onstage worked together to create an evolving audiovisual experience.
Her Lady’s Pleasure was created in collaboration with performance artist Kate Spence during her residency at The Wig in Birmingham, culminating in the performance on the evening of 23 August 2013.The performance was designed as a multi-sensory garden party. The guests were greeted by ushers in intimidating uniforms and were served three courses over the course of the evening. Each course of food, served on a custom-made tea service, triggered musical elements in a concerto to be played as they were consumed, which temp0rary then performed live alongside. In the centre of the stage was a swing from which Kate oversaw the festivities, receiving physical feedback from a number of vibrating devices that responded directly to the audience’s interactions. In turn, Kate’s EEG brain waves were monitored throughout the performance and translated into additional musical elements creating a continual biofeedback loop between the performer and audience.
Both of these previous large-scale installed performances were funded entirely by the artists.
A Body for Old Bones is an ongoing series with an indefinite path. The project’s journey will be guided by curation, collaboration and chance.
The city is a building site. If the single stipulation for a new building was that it had to be distinct from any other, the built environment would a wonderfully eclectic place, a visual assortment of innovation, imagination and the increasingly rare notion of architectural individuality.
My objective is to design, follow and repeat a system that creates unpredictable buildings in unpredictable locations, defying the increasingly generic nature of new architectural developments. The outcome will be unique and impossible to repeat. Decisions will not be driven by efficiency, profit margins and an imagined tenant’s imagined taste, but instead considered choices from a chance menu of architectural items.
My proposal is playful but will be managed and realised with thorough consideration:
I will buy a plot of land at auction, on which I will build and furnish a complete house. Absolutely every element of that house without exception will be purchased through eBay. The bricks, the mortar, the drainpipes, the doors, the pebbles on the driveway, the tiles on the roof, the wallpaper, the walls, the carpets, the floors; everything will be sourced, won and gathered.
Once the house is complete, the conclusion will be exhibited for a period of time like an open house, after which the freehold will be sold on eBay. All revenue generated by the sale will be reinvested into the perpetual model, new land will be bought and another building built. The nature of the next property will be relative to the sale of the last; it may reduce or even grow in size, constrained finance may force obscure purchases in strange locations or a lucrative return may afford two houses on one plot. All that is certain is the individuality of each.
The challenges are creative, curatorial, administrational, legal, structural, logistical, financial, geographical and perhaps even political, all of which will make the process as interesting as the product. At first glance this is an impossible task but ambitious obstacles are more easily overcome through collaboration. I communicate and collaborate frequently with engineers, architects and contractors and so am well versed in project management, planning laws and building regulations.
Every lot must be second-hand, no item may be the same as another and no individual bid will exceed a certain sum, perhaps £150 for structure and amenities and £50 for decor. These three basic rules will build a higgledy-piggledy house like an architectural patchwork. The structure might be built from fifty different stocks of bricks, fifteen miscellaneous windows and ten sets of roof tiles; the outcome is a collage of curation and chance. The eclecticism will continue inside with four wallpapers in one room and perhaps forty paint colours through one house.
A printed catalogue and live online index will archive each of the hundreds of items purchased. Making is the arrangement of material into form and this fundamental perspective is neatly reflected by the relationship between this long list of architectural ingredients and the final composition.
While sourcing and gathering, which would be within a pre-determined window of time, I will work with an illustrator to generate ever-evolving visuals of the house as new lots are won.
Every series begins with number one but in this organic model I have no idea what, where or if number two will be. Each number in the sequence will never steer from the founding objective to create unique architectural moments via unpredictable paths.
eBay generated total sales of $175 billion across the world in 2013, it is a global market place and British eBay users buy more than any other nation in the world per head of population. Art has always been born from the observations of the world that surrounds it’s maker. This series reflects our movement between the physical world that contains us and the digital world that now connects us. The two are perpetually intertwined and modern commerce, communication, recreation, relationships, education and culture almost always traverse both.
A work that explores liminal sites of travel between imaginary and real places; different imaginary worlds; and historic and contemporary thresholds of travel in Great Britain. The Paracosmographical Society is modelled upon early developments in royal societies, and its members have, or in childhood had, a developed imaginary world. Through reports, correspondence, documentation and convivial events held for and by its members – in remote mountain bothies, historic turnpike tollhouses, on bridges, at city gates, and contemporary road tolls – the artist will create multi-sensory documentary installations of the Society in a continual future-past-present state of development.
The Paracosmographical Society is modelled upon early developments in royal societies, in particular, the Royal Geographical Society, which started as a dining club in London, where select members held informal dinner debates on current scientific issues and ideas. The Paracosmographical Society is created through its members’ participation – the reports, letters, photographs, drawings, and accounts that are generated by its members – which are invited and developed through a series of conversations, research and convivial dining and meal events held at various thresholds of liminality of travel, rest, movement, entry and exit across Great Britain.
The Paracosmographical Society admits members through conversations with different groups of people who have, or who in their childhood had developed imaginary worlds. The artist will develop a series of convivial events in different locations and sites of threshold, from remote mountain bothies, historic turnpike tolls, city gates, bridges, to contemporary tolls, at which members will be invited to record, explore, and share their imaginary worlds in relation to each other and to the real sites in which they are hosted. Members of the Paracosmographical Society will be asked to consider the politics, philosophies, structures, and modes of movement and travel within their own imaginary worlds, in relation to the other members’ imaginary worlds, as well as with real places and historical moments associated with thresholds of movement.
Just as the Royal Geographical Society faced a number of critical points, debates and heated and lengthy arguments in relation to the admission of different members, so too the Paracosmographical Society will be a forum for debate, discussion, and dissent. The artist will adopt various voices and registers from different perspectives, moments, travellers, and expeditions, both as a form of correspondence with herself, and with other members, and will include fictional members of the Society. The artist will develop her own series of paracosms through a photographic, drawing and documentary travel research project into her own forms of imaginary worlds, from her childhood as well as within her wider artistic practice, which she will submit to the Paracosmographical Society for inclusion in its records and archives.
The work will layer travels through members' imaginary worlds with real thresholds associated with travel throughout Great Britain. The artist will develop convivial events and dining events which explore the use, abuse, rituals and even riots associated with real sites of threshold – as remote, open, governed by rules, or costed and taxed. From the 13th century pavage grants and medieval tolls for improving or maintaining roads, to the height of the turnpike tolls in the 19th century (by 1825 about 1,000 trusts controlled 18,000 miles of road in England and Wales), to contemporary tolls at the M6, and Humber and Severn Bridges, reactions to such taxation or restriction of movement have occurred throughout history. In mid-Wales in the 1830s, the Rebecca Rioters were men dressed as women with blackened faces and white gowns who took their actions against toll gates; Turnpike riots occurred between 1727 and 1749 in Bristol, and in 1735 there were riots across Gloucestershire and the Ledbury area against the turnpike tolls. The existence of bothies which are located in rural and often very remote sites and which have open free access governed by the bothy etiquette has recently been under threat from vandalism and drink and drug parties taking place in these often life-saving mountain shelters.
The artist will develop convivial events and dining experiences in which participants will be invited to experience different rituals and modes of liminality and transition between different states, through sensory experiences, myths, fairy stories, and tales of movement, travel and transition between different states as a means of exploring and interrogating their own imaginary worlds.
The Paracosmographical Society explores many-worlds interpretations in which all possible alternative histories and futures are real, each representing an actual ‘world’ through imaginary worlds, real sites, moments, and modes of historic and contemporary thresholds of travel.
The final outcome of the work may occur in different sites or it may be brought together in one site, perhaps the possible headquarters of the society which, through a series of installations, documents, and meetings of the Paracosmographical Society, visitors will be invited to experience the formation and continual development of the Society. As it is a society permanently in transition, the visitors’ presence and possible participation in its events and meetings may also determine and shape the current and future development of the Society. The Society may also develop a web presence in which its formation, activities, and events, are detailed, and through which people can continue to participate.
A piece of landscape will be reconstructed into a site-specific installation within the British countryside. The topography will be designed by changing the rules of a foxhunt, and the land remoulded by the choreographed acts of its participants (both humans and animals) over a long-term process of regular repetition.
Whilst undertaking research for a new work in California I came across the work of a radical California theatre group performing during the later part of the 1960s, the height of the civil rights movement. Bodacious Buggerilla was a group from Los Angeles led by artist Ed Bereal who ran a successful TV quiz show that went out over PBS at the end of the 1960s.
Their following at the time was both artistic and political and they engaged an audience for their live performances that included Andy Warhol through to members of the Black Panther Party. Using humour, parody and theatre methodology the group publicly asked questions about vital and controversial issues of the day particularly related to colour and race relations in a way that reached a massive audience whilst remaining within the world of arts and theatre. As an homage to that work and using new ideas and input we would revive the form and create a new TV quiz show for the UK. Ed Bereal is still working and very engaging – he could be a part of the advice team for the work.
This new show would be informed by an assembled team including artist Hannah Collins, architects 51% and content researchers, alongside theatre and TV input under the guidance of Artangel’s expertise and could include film footage, photo sequences, sound and performance elements during the show recordings. The audience would be hand picked to enhance the possible content and bring a powerful external series of viewpoints to the work. The shows would be recorded and could provide an on-line platform for future input and discussion.
It would be very important that the show is light, funny and engaging and not weighing down a form of entertainment with the seriousness and sadness that can accompany the treatment of vital environmental issues. An example of the questions put to the team of the original Bodacious Buggerilla TV show was the question – What were the origins of Beethoven’s parents? As it happened there was some controversy that one parent was mulatto…
Since the 1960s, quiz shows have covered content from news, sport, culture and general knowledge and whilst art has been discussed and knowledge demonstrated the form of the quiz show has only once (see above) to our knowledge become the form for an artwork. Among elements for this quiz show would be design of the show and how it appears to a TV audience and is filmed for home viewers, how content is displayed, the developing rhythm and pace as the show proceeds. For instance, it might be possible to use commissioned music in developing the pace and connections between team and audience. Imagery of rare species, the countryside, science, environmental artworks, sustainable architecture and human habitats might all form part of the experience of the work. Imagery might also include footage of the World G20 conference, Ted Talks, radio and TV archive footage. Content could be shown as short films, flash images, text and sound creating a fast stimulating pace to an experience of both being part of the show and watching from home that is fun and open-minded attracting both young and old to the show. Another possibility would be to mine already existing footage from feature films involving natural imagery, using short clips to form the basis for questions… In designing and developing the show we might create themes for each show under separate episode titles.
We imagine that there would be a limited number of shows from two to four – two being the minimum with the possibility for the audience to grow and four being the optimum for content and development at least for the scope of this project. To create this show we would begin with a small group (around five people) to think through the content, potential teams, audience reach, design and timing for the show. During development, experts would be brought on board at each stage as needed to work in production. We feel it is better to leave things open beyond this as far a development goes in order to remain entirely flexible as to how the idea develops and who the most desirable team would be.
You enter a botanical garden glasshouse. You find yourself somewhere to sit, to rest, to think. You sit cocooned amongst fragrant, colourful flowers, where dandelions, poppies and scarlet pimpernel become your companions. They sing to you.
No clocks mark time, just flower-time marked by the fragile movements of the blossoms.Watch, wait and listen for the smallest plant actions to translate into music. Log out and turn off. Slow your everyday pace and allow yourself to experience nature and time harmonizing together.
I want to create an installation that, through technology, will enrich our appreciation of nature and enhance our understanding of the true clock, the solar system.
Orchestra Botanica is a durational installation running twenty-four hours a day. It is an orchestra made of living flowers – a mixture of slow movers and fast bloomers. Each flower expresses its own biorhythm and tempo, its own relationship to the solar day.
The flowers and plants are monitored through motion sensors that trigger sounds. These sounds accumulate into a musical score that builds and changes minute-by-minute, day-by-day and has infinite possibilities. The sounds may be abstract, or they might, at times, reflect the sounds of clocks, chimes or bells.
Different flower species will unite and build a live, layered soundscape. Together the flowers will become a symphony of sound and movement that audiences listen to, experiencing the real-time of the flower world.
Audiences come to experience the subtle ongoing soundscape throughout the day, created by tiny movements in the flowers. For those seeking a more theatrical experience, estimated times are offered when orchestral ‘crescendos’ occur as a result of mass-movements in a twenty-four-hour cycle (at dusk or dawn).
Orchestra Botanica will best suit a site-specific environment such as glasshouse in The Royal Botanical Garden, Kew or in Oxford, where the oldest botanic garden in Britain is sited. The installation itself might be surrounded by a series of talks and special events.
A garden atrium is a sustainable setting that minimises risk to the growing plants. It also offers a level of control and isolation necessary for the motion sensors to be effective. Orchestra Botanica experience is reflective and unique to every new garden it is introduced to. It could tour to different glasshouses in botanical gardens or it might find a home in one as a semi-permanent artwork.
Orchestra Botanica takes inspiration from botanist Carl Linnaeus’s Horologium florae (Flower Clock) published in his research book Philosophica botanica in 1751.
Carl made the first list of local flowers with times of when specific flowers opened and closed taking account of cloudy days. The time of day could be deduced according to which species had opened or closed its flowers. This sequential flowering over a day became known as a floral clock.
Carl wrote about three types of flowers, the Meteorici, Tropici and Aequinoctales. In the installation I will work with the last type as they have fixed times for opening and closing regardless of weather or season. It is not my intention to create a floral clock, but rather use Aequinoctales flowers to create an active, moving orchestra.
I became captivated by the Evening Primrose, which blooms each day at dusk. I have experimented with a single Evening Primrose flower, working with sound, video imagery and a bespoke software system to enhance its subtle movements.
During my research I have liaised with award winning sound artist, Melanie Wilson, and interactive system designer Ross Flight. These collaborations allowed me to look at computer systems that respond with sound to plant ‘triggers’ – and can generate modulations and patterns or data that become the composition in real time.
I need Artangel to help me take this idea to the next level and work with a mass of different plants and a team. Key co-collaborators will be botanists, sound artists, programmers and electronic engineers. More intense research is needed in the large-scale use of sensors, software and signals. To realize this ambitious project I need the support of partners and collaborators who are experts in fields of sensor technologies, and botany.
Plants use a molecular clock. The movement of the flowers creates its own reading of time, not numeric, nor linear. Instead it is cyclical, seasonal, solar and cosmic. It allows audiences to transcend their everyday sense of time and enter into watching and listening from within a different time perspective.
The act of slowing people down physically and mentally with the pace of the music and the movement of the flowers creates a ‘continuous now’ – a reflective, meditative state. The beautiful simplicity and infinite possibilities of this natural orchestral music will deepen visitors’ perception of, and connection to the life of flowers.
In today’s society speed is of the essence. Time saving devices are the shining beacons of progress. The digital second is our God. Orchestra Botanica allows audiences a chance to participate in nature’s clock and in doing so re-assess their own. It is a tribute to ‘slow’ time, the slow absorption of knowledge and slow thinking. It poses questions as to how individuals organise their lives within time gaps and categories. It reminds us that we are the masters of our own time and that time was made for man, not man for time.
Between 1975 and 1981, almost all man-made structures were dismantled and removed from the remote Upper Tyne Valley in Northumberland in preparation for the construction of Kielder Water reservoir. The landscape was completely transformed; farm buildings, settlements, bridges, the railway track, street furniture and all infrastructure were bulldozed and the resulting rubble taken away. In total forty-nine buildings were removed and the community was resettled. The dam was built and over the following two years the valley slowly filled with water from the North Tyne River. Over 200 million cubic metres of water now fills the valley, creating what is currently the largest artificial lake in the UK by capacity.
Despite the fact that almost all architectural evidence of the previous settlements was erased before the reservoir was flooded, local myths persist which tell of intact deserted villages lying submerged beneath the surface of Kielder Water – rumour has it that on rare occasions when the water level drops low enough, rooftops and a church spire can be seen in the centre of the lake.
Submerged is a temporary underwater light installation at Kielder Water that unites the narratives of the landscape past and present. Viewed from the land, the underwater lighting will give the illusion that there are inhabited underwater buildings in the lake and that the flooded valley could perhaps still be populated.
The lights will be installed in twelve clusters, precisely marking the sites of the valley’s lost buildings. The reservoir is surrounded by high land crisscrossed with bridal paths, cycle paths and tourist trails. The glow of the lights will be visible from these access routes as well as other key locations including the visitor centre, dam and official viewpoints.
Lights will be switched on just before dusk and turned off again just after dawn. Timing will be in tune with domestic/street lighting in surrounding settlements. The work will be installed during the darkest six months of the year – autumn equinox to spring equinox – maximising the time it will be visible.
The light installation is primarily conceived to be viewed/experienced from within the surrounding landscape, however there is also potential for using a wide variety of techniques to document the work – these include areal photography/video of the site at dawn/dusk when both the landscape and the lights will be visible from an overhead aeroplane.
Relevant previous work:
Kielder Water & Islands is a collaged map combining a contemporary map of Kielder Water with a map of the valley before it was dammed and flooded. In this fictional geography the reservoir spawns a series of new islands created from fragments of maps depicting the twelve settlements that once populated the Upper Tyne Valley. The work was produced as an edition of 10,000 folded, printed maps (with slipcase) and distributed free to visitors to Kielder Water & Forest Park. Kielder Water & Islands is precursor to the Submerged proposal and would be available to visitors of the proposed work.
Historically, conceptions and representations of ‘England’ have been synonymous with the voices of mystics and visionaries, revolutionaries, and malcontents. These cultural imaginings are intertwined with physical landscape, social movements, and political unrest. The Terrible Thing is Coming is an act of future archaeology, drawing together the voice-over, power relations, stewardship of ‘nature’ and the malaise of Capital, among other things. Conjuring a kind of microcosm of 21st century England via a collision of timeframes, cultural forms, and public disorder, the film is ultimately an exploration of the potentialities for art and artists to affect the wider world.
In proximity to an art institution and ideally visible from the site – looking down – where we would see a somewhat choreographed procession of slowing cars – mounting then descending the hump, the passengers gently lolling backwards and forwards.
A patchable soundtrack for journeys
As we travel there is always a soundtrack, perhaps the whistling of a tune, the flight of aircraft above, the sound of engine from inside and outside, crackling of a frying pan, the bubbling of the sea on shale. In films the soundtrack is composed to fit and in compilation tapes, bands playing or DJ’s spinning we attempt to make the sounds fit the moment just as well, in the best cases the sound becomes the moment, is the thing, air tingles and hairs vibrate.
Cars in the 1930’s began to connect the idea of travel and sound implicitly when car radios first began to make an appearance, later they would feature tapes and you could compose your own soundtrack to the journey then CD’s – both of these having the limitation of being pre-designed for an idealised scenario. iPod’s and portable libraries of sound have made these soundtracks more reactive but in truth it’s always matching something already created for other reasons to the motoring environment of the moment.
In Input:Output this system is removed and replaced with one far more direct and reactive. The time between recording and transmission becomes lost as there is no recording only a live system constantly transmitting from the moment the key is turned. A soundtrack composed in direct sync with the movements of both the vehicle and the people within. The shared experience implicit in every journey becomes manifest in a soundtrack that only they will hear, changeable, dynamic, interactive and vast in scope and possibilities – the vehicle follows a route whilst the voltages are reassigned and the soundtrack carves it’s own course through the air.
A multi person vehicle is fitted with a custom built modular analogue synthesiser capable of constructing complex and shifting soundscapes. Alongside this is a variety of sensors sending real-time data to a patchbay that any audience member can interact with. For a crude example the steering wheel position could be “patched” to a pan control on the synth so if the wheel went left so would the sound. Patches could be made as complex or a simple as the passengers wished and different composers would be invited to set up the machine for individual journeys or periods of time. Part of the unit would be a sequencer so that patterns of notes could be stored and manipulated as well as evolving or “held” sounds. It’s envisaged that vehicle would travel to a number of different sites with people able to book a place on a particular journey. Obviously this limits the number of viewers somewhat so in order to counter this there would also be specific sites where the work could be hooked up to an external sound system and present a soundtrack informed by the movements around it rather than its own travel via a series of external sensors. In addition whilst it’s envisaged as being a single vehicle there’s no conceptual reason why there couldn’t be more than one.
Sound travels through space, all spaces are places, sites that exist in time forever moving and evolving. In this work the sound moves and changes with them, through them, into them. A soundtrack constructed by a interaction with and along a site rather than music composed for a site.