It’s tipping it down outside but in here, the brand new residency studio of Spudworks, it’s all cosy. If you are interested in making work in/for the New Forest then check them out. It was Spud that organised The Observatory a few years back. So now all that’s left is to put on my waterproofs and wellies and venture onto the heath at Hilltop with its mires. Should be fun! [Mire: ‘deep, wet, spongy earth]
As soon as you step away from the road, which crosses the heath like a causeway across water, you enter a different time zone: the wood is old and twisted (here washed into a temporary flow-line), the growth takes decades to inch upwards, everything is as if in suspended animation, freeze-framed by a long-forgotten spell. Its quite a relief, in some ways, an expanding time, but how can this anachronistic landscape find a place in the present? Must it always refer to the past? [I’m looking from some answers tomorrow when I meet with a Commoner and Forestry England.]
On the left, the unreal picture-postcard world of Beaulieu, on the right the holding tanks of the Fawley oil refinery, and in the middle Hilltop, with its open heathland – that’s our territory for this residency. This Lidar image shows the topography, captured from the air by bouncing a laser beam from a plane down onto the surface. The colour: that’s totally artificial; blue to show eastward-facing slopes, orange westward-facing slopes; yellow northward-facing slopes. [Thanks Lawrence for taking the time to meet with me and talk 3D. Looking forward to getting your drone over the heat to get some more detailed 3D.]
It’s exciting to arrive in the New Forest at night to begin a new residency. Across a cattle grid and then you know you are on the Commoning Land, where the New Forest ponies roam free. Looking forward to what I might find tomorrow. Tonight, I’m in the residency studio of SpudWorks, who are hosting this project. For the first time in many years I’m not working alone but with Reinhild Beuther.