“The evidence is written here in the landscape. This is where the interpretation happens. Our story is embedded in the landscape around you. You are walking on it.” *
Principal Artist, Christopher Tipping has been appointed to work with the team to help develop a public art plan for the Major Urban Park.
Introducing public art into the early stages of the park design represents a creative ambition by Henley Camland to establish an exemplary collaborative approach, granting time and exploration within the design development process. The outcome will offer a layer of interpretation and discussion that will influence the landscape plan, making it truly evocative of Whitecliffe.
“Swanscombe, including the Eastern Quarry is a fascinating, fractured, characterful & strangely compelling place. It is full of contrasts & resonates with compelling stories, both factual and anecdotal, of social, agricultural, industrial, archaeological, and geological heritage extending far back into deep time – yet somehow, and brilliantly for us, much still evident and tactile on the surface, in the real & living place of today. However, this isn’t always easy to read or unpick. Much has been lost. Landscapes turned upside down. Geology reimagined. Industry come-and-gone. Man-made landscapes quietly, but impressively reclaimed by nature.” *
As part of an integrated design team, the thinking, and influences flow both ways, informing and shaping future public art commissions that resonate with the unique location, its cultural history both past and present. The team are exploring alternative uses of park elements: for example, viewpoints, seating, pathways, entrances and exits and the incorporation of colour, text and pattern as well as stand-alone artworks.
“This special place, now known as Whitecliffe provides homes for new communities ‘within’ the chalk workings themselves. Within, not atop, embraced by the heritage about it, rather than sat above the buried remains of it. These communities are literally the new people of the chalk, and this legacy must be embraced and held dear. The Park landscape provides an anchor, a place rooted and imbued with meaning.” *
The public art plan will set out ambitions to ensure that the Major Urban Park provides opportunities for visitors to experience and discover new artwork that informs, surprises and delights.
“Alkerden Park is a hugely valuable & key asset in maintaining and propagating social and physical links between all local communities, old and new, north & south of Alkerden Lane.” *
*Extracts from Artist Statement by Principal Artist, Christopher Tipping