St Radigunds landscaping project and 'Dover Live Screen'
Grimsey, Tom (2007) St Radigunds landscaping project and 'Dover Live Screen' Kent County Council, The Foundation for Sports and the Arts, The Arts Council, Dover, UK.
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The design stage funded by the Arts Council involved research and extensive public consultation producing a phased strategy to integrate artworks into the new nursery, community centre and public space on the 2.5 acre site, “to help meet the needs of a neighbourhood which sits high within the 10% most deprived in the country”. Initial designs were made in consultation with architects Tom Roberts Associates and landscape designer Lloyd Bore. Completed elements to date are: - 1. ‘The Liquid Landscape’ – Dressing the previously contaminated site with hundreds of tons of topsoil before planting proved an opportunity for major sculptural re-modeling. This work, funded by ‘Sure Start’, gives a new physical rational to the site. Existing objects; trees, fences and boarders appear to be set in a liquid landscape, each generating radiating ripples of undulating grass. Other ripples are caused by phantom objects yet to appear. 2. ‘St Radigunds Forest’ -The bleak “starkly problematic” 200 meter boundary fence of the nursery re-cut and painted to form a new forest-scape. A consciously inclusive project using huge stencils made in conjunction with local schools, youth clubs and user groups. Funded by ‘Arts for All’ (£5,000), “the first project to engage local people and give them a sense of ownership of the new site”. Thorough public consultation and involvement (part of the strategy to position ourselves to attract the next phases of funding) has paid real dividends as18 months on there is absolutely no graffiti on what is a potentially vulnerable public site. 3. ‘Live Screen’ - An out-door concrete fully functioning screening and performance space in the form of a giant television. Inspiration came from Johan Huizinger’s ideas of ‘Homo Ludens’. A simple object becomes the setting for involved and inventive play without over-direction. In the spirit of a contemporary bandstand where a band might perform once a month but for most of the time the structure provides the focus for meeting and informal play. The prepared landscape forms a natural amphitheatre for the siting of the new structure. As if the TV had fallen from the sky, a huge grassy hollow is formed with concentric waves rippling out into the surrounding gardens. Working with ‘Black Fish’ Physical Theatre Company and various video artists an inaugural event with dance, drama, film and video launched the facility on 15.9.07
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