I finally got to spend some quality time with Corporation Park today. I still haven’t managed to walk up and down every path but I covered quite a good amount of varying routes.
I put my video camera through her paces and recorded some truly stimulating conversations with some bright and fascinating people. It really grounded me to be able to talk to others whilst walking around in the shade of trees, through dappled sunlight and birdcalls. Trees were a common theme today in fact. It seems that many people come to Corporation Park for the variety of tree species and to experience the ‘breathing space’ that trees create. People have ‘favourite’ trees or trees that they climbed as children or use as stopping points, markers at which they sprinkle seeds for the birds. Trees with faces hidden within them or that hide fairy grottos. And trees that create a sense of peace, privacy and an illusion boundless nature within the city centre.
Such a shame that Flora has taken such a beating, I hope her leg grows back in the Spring
I started off my day at Blackburn Museum, sitting in a room lined with ancient leather bound books. I learned more about the history of Corporation Park and again found myself imagining being a visitor to the Park for its grand opening on 22nd October 1857 (22nd October is also my birthday so I feel even more connected to the park now!)
It’s thought that 70,000 people came to the park on that first day, most of whom had been given the day off work specially to attend the event.
I’m struck by how exciting it must’ve been for working and middle class people alike to come into such a huge, giant, ornate garden in the knowledge that it belonged to everyone. Looking at photographs of Blackburn at that time, the landscape is dominated by chimneys and row upon row of terraces. I imagine the Park would’ve felt like a magical oasis, especially for the mill workers themselves who would’ve spent so many days inside those dark, hot and ceaselessly noisy factories.
I ended the day stood by the large fountain near the Gate House which Emma thoughtfully turned on for me so I could see it in all its glory, creating mini rainbows in the golden light. Just before, we’d witnessed a young Sparrowhawk take down a pigeon and swiftly begin to decimate it. Small white feathers flew everywhere as the hawk ate its way through the pigeon’s head and breast. It was truly amazing to witness, such a privilege.
So my plan was to get round all the parks today, but it was very far from happening. I got very lost. Not really a good thing for a digital artist doing stuff with mapping, but then i guess you can take the boy out of the special class, but you cant take the dyslexia out of the boy.
So in the end i eventually got to Corporation Park in Blackburn. It is big! It also has a very different feel to Marsden Park. The front reminds me of Coventry’s memorial park which i used to go to with friends when i was a teenager, but the walkways through the slope/ forest bit is really beautiful. It kind of reminded me of a small Montreal’s Mount Treal (hope i got that right)
Its a great park and every time you turn a corner you find something new to explore or a new fasility. As i got to the park late i figured i had missed Lucy, who is resident in this park, but did find something which i did not know weather or not it was one of her works.
Someone, i thoght maybe Lucy, had cleared away a square of the leaves, leaving a blank bit of the pathway in a long wide pathway/road covered ina carpet of yellow leaves. Intended asa n artwork or not I thought it was kind of beautiful and felt like a really subtle intervention into the landscape. Making something almost missable out of the absence of something that is ubiquitous across the park.
I spent my first day in Corporation park today. Met Emma Fielding, the park warden, who bowled me over with her enthusiasm and good humour. Despite the wind, rain and grey sky the beauty of the park was overwhelming. There were a few highlights today…Emma told me some fantastic urban legends related to the park – Canon firing Suffragettes, the Big Pond beastie, the Big Pond ammunition stash and the spitfire crash landing of WW2. (To find out which ones are true you’ll have to come find me!)
Also, was passing by the lake just as the rain turned heavy and Helen ( the lovely lady from the park support group pointed out a heron. As we turned to watch, it rose up gracefully, with the most incredible wingspan and flew away from us across the lake through the rain. The whole scene was like a Japanese watercolour in blues and greys, a truly special moment.
My favourite image of the day was turning the corner onto the wide promenade known as the Broadwalk and the whole length and breadth of the path was covered in fallen gold leaves, like the path to Oz.
Later I met local artist Kerris Casey St. Pierre and her family in their home just adjacent to the top of the park. The house was like a wonderland, an explosion of colour and creativity. Toys, artworks and found objects jostled for space and I arrived just as Kerris served up homemade soup to her partner and four children. I have never met four more bright and inquisitive children. I’m really looking forward to working with them all.
All in all it was a day of wonderful sights, sounds and smells. Bring it on….!
Arrived at Herd Farm today and met the rest of the group. What an inspiring, irreverent and sweet bunch you all are! My worries about ‘Not knowing what I’m supposed to be doing’ have now been soothed by a fantastic introductory meeting, good food, stimulating conversation and just a smidge of vino.
Corpy Park here I come! I am truly excited about how this project is going to unfold…more soon.
I’ve spent quite a few days now wondering what to bring with me for my residency. The list is growing and growing and I’m sure it will be the biggest car-load of random items I’ve ever packed. Camera…check. Laptop…check. Pencils and paints…check. Memory foam pillow….check. I realised today I’d missed out the most important thing…thermal underwear! Here’s hoping for crisp bright sunny days!
I am a visual artist and project manager and have been creating, commissioning and facilitating art since 1998.
I use a mixture of digital media and more traditional arts and crafts techniques to explore themes such as the relationship between people and the built environment, the emotional narrative of landscape, the changing nature of value, and universal human themes of decay, discovery, loss, hope, love and connection.
It is important to me to underpin my work with the stories and experiences of real-life, using my work as a tool to inspire, reveal, transform, surprise, encourage empathy and hopefully inspire.
During the past few years I have become increasingly interested in how I can create public art and installation using a combination of HD and Super 8 film, projection, words and music.
Rather than seeing myself solely as a filmmaker, I endeavour to make art that uses film in an unconventional and collaborative way.
My website is www.fluxperpetua.com if you would like to find out more about me and my work.