Woods to Where Else
I was one of the artists participating in Woods to Where Else, a research and development project led by Stour Valley Creative and lead artist/lecturer Laverne Cunningham, under the aegis of the Stour Valley Creative Partnership.
King’s Wood has always been a working wood, a cultured landscape marking an interface of natural resource and human activity. Stour Valley Creative Partnerships seeks to explore this ecological tension between nature and cultivation and to examine and question the identity of the woods as a purely natural and harmonious environment. Thinking about the woods as a site of industry and labour, rather than simply a pastoral space of natural beauty, this project will look at the woods both historically and in its present context.
From the production of timber to a site of leisure and recreation King’s Wood is inherently ideological; the woods serve as a hub in a network of intertwined economic and ecological movements and distributions, in which nature becomes material and moves outwards beyond the woods to be used and employed elsewhere, whilst human activity enters into it, traversing through it and affecting its ecology. This economic and ecological dance of nature and industry that creates a distinct ‘time’ for the woods, one that defines its territory as constantly shifting and changing, a poetics of visible and invisible forces that continually reshape it.
The project was an opportunity to develop my research into heterotopiaas (Foucault) and consider what it is like to move into or within or be in a heterotopic space? I made prints and moving image pieces, continuing my use of a gopro to record my own movements through a space. The resulting footage with its curved, at times chaotic geometries provides a different way of perceiving the surrounding environment.
Between the trees https://vimeo.com/251963717
Publication: The Woods to Where Else publication was launched on 27 March 2020.
The publication comes in 2 parts, the book and the pop-out. The book is based on the Woods to Where Else project which challenged several artists to explore King’s Wood and consider their ideas, experiences and creative responses to this working woodland and to the environment more broadly. The pop-out, inspired by the work of the contributors, is a practical tool for artists and teachers of all age groups. It can be used to plan and explore King’s Wood or indeed other landscapes.