Park is a series of works stemming initially from a commission called SUPERDREAM, which involved an exchange between the artists and communities of two comparable urban parks; Windmill Hill Park in Gateshead, UK, and Jeppe Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The first phase of SUPERDREAM took place in Windmill Hill Park at an event programmed as part of GIFT (Gateshead International Theatre Festival) on Friday 2nd May 2014. When researching my piece for this event, trying to imagine how I could make work that might link the two parks in some way, I used Google’s Street View function to ‘visit’ Jeppe Park and discovered that it was fully accessible in this virtual fashion – because it is small enough to kick a football across and entirely bordered by roads – in a way that Windmill Hill Park is not because it’s much larger and accessible to pedestrians and cyclists only. From this discovery, I produced a simple stop-motion photographic animation of a walk around Windmill Hill Park, that was presented as a looped video on a tablet device floated inside a tripod mounted viewing box.
For the Jeppe Park phase of SUPERDREAM, Richard Glynn worked with me on the development of an analogue version of the digital prototype. In the course of our 10 day residency in Johannesburg, we worked with a local artisan to create Park (MKI), the contemporary mutoscope mechanism with which to share, with Johannesburg artist peers and the Jeppe Park SUPERDREAM audience, an analogue Google Street View-style tour of Windmill Hill Park in Gateshead.
Park (MKI) was produced for the Jeppe Park SUPERDREAM event in Johannesburg, 19th July 2014, and as it had to be left in Johannesburg, a second version – Park (MKII) – was made on our return to the UK. Park (MKII) has been shown at the Baltic Artist Book Market in Gateshead, December 2014, FORMAT Festival Photography Book Fair in Derby, March 2015, as part of the Vélo Café Renaissance end of residency exhibition in Herlies, France, October 2015, at Teesside University in Middlesbrough, February 2016, and also exhibited as part of The Lostness Cycles at Brighton Photo Fringe, October 2016, and Joseph Swan & Photography in Sunderland, February 2017.
The SUPERDREAM project was commissioned by the British Council for its Connect ZA programme. It was produced by Swallows Foundation and ISIS Arts in Gateshead, and The Trinity Session in Johannesburg.