A few months ago I built two watchtowers. They were built to show my interpretation on the current culture that has been adopted in England. This of course is the Big Brother effect our country has over its people. I felt the symbol of the watchtower was quite fitting and the images worked well.
I wanted to see how the public reacted to my work. These odd authoritative figures appearing in the country side would surely create a reaction? I was very focused on the actions I was doing as a Land Artist at this point and very interested in the reactions too. I was focused on seeing whether or not people would walk on by the looming authoratitve structures, adopting the Big Brother 'keep on walking' and leave well alone approach. Or would the public interact with my pieces, perhaps be quite destructive?
In fact both were the case. The 'Hagwood Watchtower' was left alone, where as the 'Hurstwood Watchtower' had been pushed over. So i did indeed get some results, but what did it prove? The destroyed watchtower could have been knocked over by an aggrivated farmer. What does it mean that the other was left alone? I became confused by my own study. At this point I left the watchtowers to be rediscovered by myself for future development.
After approximately half a year I came back to discover the states of both watchtowers. 'Hurstwood Watchtower' was still in rubbles where as the watchtower in Hagwood had been blown over and badly weathered. Time had taken an interesting toll on this watchtower and I enjoyed the resulting product. The grass had grown over the structure and had become embedded in the ground. After retrieving the fallen tower from Hagwoods boggy grounds, up came the earth, the plants and the creatures that now inhabited it. My own theories and studies no longer mattered as I had new ideas and plans to work with for this watchtower.
Riots And Ruins
I initially built a watchtower to represent the Big Brother mentality of the nation we live in. Time took its toll and the watchtower became ruins. A Big Brother symbol in ruins (Just like the city of London) reminded me of the current situation. To replicate the fight of the common man to protect and save our Big Brother capital I salvaged the ruins and attached rope to steady and keep the structure up. I felt this addition symbolised these factors well.
The evidence of revival is still evident on the watchtower. The earth and grass that came up from ground remains, along with the creatures which made it their home. In London, after the riots the 'creatures' of that city remain too, amongst the rubble and damage, supporting their fallen Big Brother city.
Above is a video of the piece, so that you can get a feel of viewing the piece yourself. The piece is filmed to resemble the deserted aftermath in which the riots took place.
A couple of years ago, I collaborated with another student named Ben Boothman to create a shadow puppet show. I decided to make this shadow puppet story after listening to a song called 'Mykonos' by The Fleet Foxes. In my head I felt it could fit perfectly with the story I had in mind and began to make a story fitting to the song. Almost like a music video for said song. I created the puppets and moved them for the story whilst Ben recorded. We edited together, although his graphic skills played a big part and he put the clips together very well.
There was a few things we had hoped to do during editing which we were unsuccessful in. For example, when the priest raises his hand a bolt of lightening should miss the dragon and strike the dead knight, which would explain that scene better. Ignoring these small factors I feel it was successful and in the short amount of time we had to make this video it turned out better than I could have expected.
A piece created at Thwaites Mill in Leeds. Our project was based on site specificity. My intention was to select a part of the mill that had been neglected. I chose an embankment which was made up from discarded objects and rubble. I wanted to give this piece of land its own voice. To release this spot of lands 'voice' I decided to build an instrument into the ground. The sound/music of this mound can then be released through a vessel. Every item used in the construction of the piece was found at the site. To release the noise you must turn the stick anti-clockwise, to simulate turning back time to hear the sounds of the past. The stick was used to make it seem as though you have to churn the land to discover the music. The inside components are built inspired by the workings in the mill, but have been altered using my own ideas. The sound created is a way of giving the land it's own voice in this mill site, and not a replica of the sound found in the mill itself.
The video worked out being more successful then expreiencing the 'Instrument' in person. Due to a limit in time, elements in the piece were unable to be fully figured out, leaving the piece sounding rather quiet. Against the sound of the nearby wear it struggled to stand out as much as I'd hoped. This is an idea I'd hope to push further in the future. The context will be different, but with a better setting and an extended time-scale the results should be much improved.
Images From Construction
As I was dismantling the piece once it had exhibited, a 'happy accident' occurred. Removing the bricks caused the surrounding earth to collapse. This along with the box that already existed provided an interesting composition in the earth. Although man-made the new derelict art inherited the feeling of abandonment and ageing. Both factors, along with the use of removing earth to base my art I will pursue further.