Friday, 16 September 2011

Taking Root - Taking Part: Experts inspire

During an exciting, if slightly drizzly, afternoon of speedy presentations and short treks through the wild edges, our team of experts shared their thoughts on nature, wilderness and their experiences of the edges of the Camden Arts Centre garden.

The experts we invited were

Tony Canning, a Biologist. We invited him because of his interest in nature conservation. Tony is a seasoned environmental campaigner, which we trust brings a political edge to the project. He also works for the Wildlife Trust at the Camley Street Nature Reserve, which is an important local alliance.

Augusto Corrieri, a choreographer, performance artist and writer. We invited him as an artist of a discipline (choreography), which is about space, people, movement and sound. A practice of spatial exploration. All aspects of which we think will be key to a project, which will invite people to explore a space.

Petra Ungerer, a Zoologist, originally from Vienna, now researching at Queen Mary University in London. We invited her as we wanted to learn about the existing microsystems and creepy crawlies in the wild areas, how to see and find them and how to protect them and learn what makes them work.

Roberto Sanchez-Camus, a psychogeographer. What interested us about his discipline and work was his interest in edges and thresholds and their interconnectedness to a wider context.

Paul Lyalls, a poet. We invited him as we were interested about how ideas and experiences are communicated and put into words, an aspect crucial in disseminating aspects of a nature ‘trail’.

Before the date we asked interviewed each of them to get a better understanding of them, their interests and working practices.

Participants at the event were encouraged to share their experiences on the artist led treks, locating their experiences on a map of the site using.

The concluding discussion unearthed some thoughts by the audience about the wild edges. Several people were concerned whether permanent installations or even an actual trail would destroy the wild edges. They treasured its secludedness and feeling of enclosure allowing space for retreat and thinking.

We have come to the conclusion that an actual path might not be the appropriate response to the space. Perhaps a series of installations? Or devices? Would they be of temporary or permanent nature? What is their spatial relationship to the wilderness? Would they require people to enter the wilderness at all?

The brief for the day can still be downloaded here. We are keen to know about your explorations and thoughts until our residence in the drawing studio in spring 2012, when all research will be informing our proposal for the wild spaces.

You can also still see the little bug hotel Zoologist Petra and Richard of the Camden Arts Centre built as part of the event to welcome additional wildlife in the garden.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Collaborative Poem

Campers were inspired by the glossary developed by Paul Lyalls and the Taking Part participants. Their words and ideas have been brought together in a collaborative poem that celebrates the wonder of the wilderness.

Wild Edges

Deep dark wood

Chaotic protecting green canopy

Every Bug-Hotel is full, even the bee and bees have no room in the trees.

The wild corner of the garden where the magic begins

I feel invisible because no one is around me

Nice and quiet, away from the traffic of the city.

In a magical world of fairies and angels.

I walk through and it feels like an adventure,

The fairytales begin in the woods.

Leaf doors reveal fairies with graffiti spray cans of light

Golden sunlight through leaves

Sunshine glitters and dances on my face

I feel free because no one tells me what to do

Free as a wild cat

I discover the wonder around me

I discover all the world has to offer

I discover all the glory of the light that lights up our lives

Go fire-flies light up the way

Light and laughter is all we need

Green, green trees they give me lots of memories

Watching swishing trees by my side

The wonders of nature and how you never know enough.

Wilderness Camp-out at Camden Arts Centre

Thankfully the rain dried up as we welcomed our intrepid local families to camp overnight in the gardens. Poet Paul led some funny name games so we got to know each other.

We wandered through Mathilde’s exhibition searching for the moon and stories about night fall, sleep and dreams.

The brilliant builders Gemma and Llew from Made from Scratch led a very ambitious shelter making activity, as mums and dads erected tents. Tall sails, ropes, plastic pipes, branches and camouflage netting were lashed together to make a unique den.

Poet Paul led families on twilight treks through the wild edges eliciting written responses.

Grey and Anne Marie from Camden Arts Centre served up a delicious BBQ supper, before our young campers led a procession into the shelter to 'officially' launch the shared space with limbo dancing challenges! Tricky on a full stomach!

As the sun set we made a cluster of lanterns, puncturing the skin of hollowed out grapefruits with patterns and words and lighting candles inside.

We used torches to cast a ‘little full moon’ on the surface of the shelter and folded and cut paper to make ‘shadow stars’.

Equipped with glowing sticks and balloons, we trekked into the dense dark wild to make illuminated ‘drawings’ captured on camera.

Camden Art Centre’s own wilderness expert and enthusiastic explorer Richard (also the man with the coolest tent!) lit the campfire and the evening drew to a close with toasted marshmallows and hot milk. Following this everyone cozied up in their tents for a night’s sleep.

The next morning we shared breakfast and struck camp. Finally we saw the real moon in the pale morning sky! Bringing down the special shelter, tents and dining area the garden was returned to it’s natural state, but having experienced this place in extraordinary and thrilling ways, not least as a 'dreaming space', we will never look at it the same way again.