Missing Persons

This Section is called Missing Persons because much of the artists' traces at Grizedale have disappeared. I wanted to hear first hand about their Grizedale experiences - to literally and metaphorically give the artists a voice. This led to the first ever compilation of all artworks sited in Grizedale Forest for a week or more, which in turn led to Grizedale Forest Archive and the Artists' Interview videos. There have also been many short term or offsite residencies. For more information about these please see Grizedale Arts website. 

 

In addition to revealing more about the artists'  'Grizedale experience’, Missing Persons addresses:

 

  1. How and why Land Art emerged in America, and its legacy and influence on UK artists.

  2. The key themes that Grizedale artists have engaged with when siting work in the forest over the last four decades.(See below left)

  3. The narratives and story telling specific to Grizedale – notably the blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction. (See texts below in maroon)

  4. The relationship between chora, documentation and the creation of mythologies and reputations specific to a space-place, in which as Okwui Enwezor states ‘ the photographic document is a replacement of the object or event’.

 

 

This is a narrative told to me by artist Graham Fagen, based on narrative told to him by a Grizedale Forester in 2002.

 

“I left school the summer of 1966 and got a job working as a trainee forester in October. The weather had been terrible for most of the autumn. Storms followed by three weeks of snow meant that our felling programme was well behind that year. It brightened up over Christmas, then the weather closed in again. Finally on the 4th January, the weather cleared. There were bright blue skies, with a heavy frost and we went up to the Lawson Park area overlooking Coniston Water, to start felling.

 

I always liked it up there - there were fine views of the Old Man of Coniston and the mountains beyond. This side of the forest had been noisy for months. Donald Campbell had been testing his Bluebird boat on and off since I left school. He was even out on Christmas day – you could barely hear the church bells ringing over roar of the engines, but this morning was the first time we’d heard the boat since then.

 

We’d been working for about an hour when we heard the boat fire up – it always started up slowly, but then it started roaring and it just got louder and louder, and then slowly faded down at the end of the lake.  You could hear it above the noise of the chainsaws because it echoed all around the valley. Trees surrounded us, so we heard rather than saw it tear across the lake, once and then for a second time – this time coming back towards Coniston. We’d stopped for a tea break by then.

 

The boat powered up and got louder and louder, and then a loud bang.... then complete silence. All around the valley. It was really strange, not even a bird sang. I’d never heard it so quiet. It felt wrong to start up the chain saws and make noise... but something needed to fill the silence”

 

This is a narrative told by Nik Devlin, based on the narrative written by Edwina fitzPatrick, who was told it by Graham Fagen, which was based on a narrative told to him by a Grizedale Forester in 2002.

 

“I left school the summer of 2166 and got a job working as a trainee reforester in October. The weather had been terrible for most of the summer. Storms followed by three weeks of snow meant that our planting programme was well behind that year. It brightened up over PseudoChristmas, then the weather closed in again. Finally on the 4th August, the weather cleared. There were bright blue skies, with a heavy frost and we went up to the Lawson Park area overlooking Coniston Water to start planting.

 

I always liked it up there - there were fine views of the Old Man of Coniston, the mountains and the Spaceport beyond. This side of the forest had been noisy for months.  Donald Campbell XX1 had been testing his Bluebird Vodzhenoy on and offsince I left school. He was even out on PseudoChristmas day –you could barely hear the church bells ringing over the whistle of the hyperdrive, but this morning was the first time we’d heard the boat since then.

 

We’d been working for about an hour when we heard the Vodzhenoy fire up – it always started up slowly, but then it started whistling and it just got louder and louder, and then slowly faded down at the end of the lake.  You could hear it above the noise of  the planting robots because it echoed all around the valley. Trees surrounded us, so we heard rather than saw it tear across the lake, once and then for a second time – this time coming back towards Coniston. We’d stopped for a rad check by then.

 

The boat powered up and got louder and louder, and then a loud Bang...  then complete darkness; the hyperdrive had collapsed the space all around the valley so no light waves escaped. It was really strange, we couldn’t see a thing. I’d never seen it so dark. It felt wrong to start up the planting robots and make light... but something needed to fill the darkness."