Sunday, June 13, 2010

Common Ground Countdown

We are just 2 weeks away from Common Ground, and things are coming together now. The band has confirmed they can do a 2pm performance - S.A.F.E. have said they would like to get involved and are going to do fishing instruction for kids.Glen and I met up with Rob Worral (the parkkeeper) this week to discuss the installation of the works, and to talk through any health and safety issues, as well as covering taking the work down and returning any temporary changes we make back to normal.
Inside the Parkkeeper's Lodge - Hanley Park
One of the really exciting things to come out of the meeting is that Katie Shipley's memory stepping stones are going to become a permanent feature, and Rob really liked Chris Parkes' square animals - which he would like to make permanent if they could be made vandal proof - which is doubtful.Katie's piece will be located here - this is in the part of the park which has been regenerated thanks to S.A.F.E and Rob Worral's team's creative vision. With little resources and funding they have turned a corner of the park which was once a no-go zone into a wildlife haven. Thomas Mawson would undoubtedly have approved of this - there are very formal areas of the park, but all good landscapers know that a city park of this kind also needs these 'naturally landscaped' areas, where weeded areas and wildflowers are allowed to grow. The birds and insects rely on these areas, and the plants throughout the rest of the park rely on the birds and insects for pollination. The untrained eye might think that this area looks unruly and overgrown, but as Rob explained this is absolutely imperative to the ecology of the park. The other thing that really impressed us about Rob's approach to landscaping the park was that in this area they had set out very clear paths for people to negotiate - but as you can see in the image above the visitors have created what landscapers call a 'Lazy Line' which is where the walker creates their own impromptu path - usually the quickest route through a space. Instead of ignoring this and trying to force people to use the park Rob is keen to respond positiviely to the activity by installing Katie's stepping stones where the path fas formed - thus formalising the landscape in repsonse to the park user. I love this idea of responsive landscaping - Intelligent Design at its finest.
Quite a few of the art works for Common Ground will be situated in this area, which will be lovely. We are also going to develop a Common Ground Geocache - which we are excited about. Watch this space for more on that.
Here is a bit of a preview of some of the projects for Common Ground:
Phil Rawle turns a tree into a giant sundial with his Sand Drawing.
Bernard Charnley’s piece finds politicians up to their necks in it.Andrew Branscombe‘s interactive musical sculpture references the human life of the park.
Kate Lynch asks the public to look out for the elusive and enigmatic character The Green Man.
Monument sees Stuart Porter drawing attention to features of the park that are more usually overlooked.
Katie Shipley explores the physical processes of memory through drawing and sculptural intervention.Anna Francis excavates the Park’s Halcyon days, connecting to the history of a once great city park by repopulating the bandstand.David Bethell will be undertaking durational performance ‘Digging’ between 11.30 am and 4pm on Sunday.Glen Stoker uses the Pavilion to investigate levels of Political commitment to urban regeneration.
Carl Gent aims to consult the public on his campaign to Twin Stoke-on-Trent with a distant cosmic body.
Celine Siani Djiakoua’s participatory piece asks park users to consider poignant questions, and connects to the multi-cultural side of the Park.
Nickie Brown’s signs aim to directly address the public, testing reactions and responses to requests and orders.
Marc Tittensor’s stick men delight and amuse, and reference the Park as a destination for Play.
Chris Parkes has created a series of sculptural objects that reference the furry and feathered inhabitants of the Park.Michael Branthwaite’s sculptural piece provides visual sensation through colour and form.
Ben Faga’s performances and installations bring animals from around the world into the Park.
Brian Holdcroft draws a physical line that denotes the body passing through space and across time, when
moving through this historic site.
Andrew Jackson will negotiate chance meetings with park users, aiming to capture these moments for others to discover later.
My Dear Tom is an anonymous sound piece by Emmie, from a Postcard sent in 1907.

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