In 2019, we celebrated 150 years of Finsbury Park being the ‘People’s Park’ – a place where we can all do things together. In 2020 protests across the UK saw public artworks toppled from plinths, while the pandemic left us separated and isolated.
With this in mind, we launched the People’s Park Plinth this summer, as a way to re-explore our public spaces by turning Furtherfield Gallery inside out and expanding its digital arts programme beyond our walls and into the life of Finsbury Park.
We collaborated with incredibly talented artists, curators and local park members to create 3 ‘taster’ digital public artworks that speak about the park’s heritage and local stories. In May, June, and July we showcased a different digital art experience each month.
In August, the park made its pick! We will be launching a larger commission of Based on a Tree Story this Autumn, and to continue celebrating the heritage, artistry and local voices from Finsbury Park, all the ‘taster’ artworks will be available until January 2022.
If you are in Finsbury Park you can use the camera on your phone to scan the QR codes on the People’s Park Plinth (presented on the exterior of our Gallery building in the centre of the park). They are all free to access, any time, with any smartphone – but you might want to have some headphones handy too.
If you are somewhere else you can click the links on the People’s Park Plinth website to find the artworks.
It’s your park so it’s your pick!
Sign up here to get involved in choosing the artwork that most belongs in the heart of Finsbury Park next year.
Breath Mark x Lisa Hall & Hannah Kemp-Welch
Live until January 2022
A site-specific, interactive sound work creating moments of connection between strangers of all species.
Follow this sound work as it leads you across the park to meeting points for animals, plants and strangers. As you listen, consider the needs of all these inhabitants and our symbiotic relationship that is increasingly under threat. Between heartbeats, vibrations and the alignment of crossing paths, this work sounds out a shared existence, putting these moments of connectivity with strangers of all species on the People’s Park’s Plinth.
The work features interviews with volunteers at Edible Landscapes, a forest gardening group based onsite at Finsbury Park: David Berrie, Imogen Simmonds, Jo Homan, Juliette Ezavin and Theo Betts. The artists were commissioned by Breath Mark, a curatorial collective formed as a part of the Royal College of Art’s MA Curating Contemporary Art Programme Graduate Projects 2021 in partnership with Furtherfield’s People’s Park Plinth project.
Taster: In this first iteration of the artwork, one sound pathway ‘Close to the ground’ is presented.
Larger commission: If this work had been selected in the public vote in August 2021, a further two sound pathways and a trail to find them would have been revealed.
HERVISIONS x Ayesha Tan Jones
Live until January 2022
A site-specific, sonic augmented reality encounter with a digital tree sprite that tells tales of the tree’s past, present and future.
The trees of Finsbury Park are very old, and they have been witness to a lot of change and growth. If the trees had a voice, what would they share?
Based on a Tree Story brings to life Furtherfield Gallery’s nearby resident, a London plane tree dubbed the Trunk Triplets Tree, situated in Finsbury Park and the soils from which they grew, part of the now-extinct ancient woodland, Hornsey Woods. From medieval history to sci-fi futures, their stories are told through an augmented reality and audio experience, giving viewers an insight into the past, while arming them with inspiration and knowledge to help protect the trees into the future.
The project activates a digital tree sprite that shares a fable crafted through local research, site visits and discussion with Ricard Zanoli, the Park Ranger.
Taster: In this first iteration of the artwork one tree story is presented.
Larger commission: This work was selected in the public vote in August 2021 and further two tree stories and a trail of clues to find them will be revealed this Autumn.
Desree x Drumming School with Alex Dayo x Studio Hyte
Live until January 2022
An augmented reality (AR) sci-fi zine comprising three stories that bring together writers, musicians, and local residents to explore alternative visions of a Finsbury Park of the future.
For this first iteration of the AR zine, released in July 2021 as part of the People’s Park Plinth programme, we present The Light and Dark: an audio-visual story about a fictional character, Isa, who wakes up in a home they don’t recognize, surrounded by land that feels as foreign as the sky they sit under. Isa does not know how they made it there, but they do know they have to make it home before the host finds them. With only the wisdom of Grandwa, and the feeling in their chest, Isa discovers the power of their historical connection to what was, their land.
The Light and Dark has been written by local spoken word artist and writer Desree, and is accompanied by a unique musical composition by musician Alex Dayo and his park-based Drumming School, in collaboration with David Kemp. The visual design, AR experience and animation have been developed by Studio Hyte.
Taster: In this first iteration of the artwork the start of one future fiction is presented.
Larger commission: Had this work been selected in the public vote in August 2021, this fiction would have been completed and two more would have been revealed.
In August, after experiencing all 3 digital artworks, we asked people to pick which one they thought belonged in the heart of Finsbury Park by either:
The park’s pick is Based on a Tree Story, and we are working with HERVISIONS and Ayesha Tan Jones to make a bigger and better version of their digital art experience – and then we will launch it on the People’s Park Plinth this Autumn!
We wanted everyone to express an opinion – even if visitors were far away what they felt mattered too. But if voters lived locally what they felt mattered more for the vote count – so we weighted the vote for anyone using the CultureStake app within or near the park.
If you are an arts organisation you can find out more about how you can use CultureStake to drive collective cultural decision-making at your own digital and physical events.
Breath Mark is a curatorial collective initiated as a part of the Curating Contemporary Art Graduate Projects Programme 2021, Royal College of Art. Comprising six international members, Breath Mark’s curatorial practice responds to the challenges of curating remotely and explores the interconnectivity of physical and digital site-specific experiences.
Members: Kevin Bello, Jindra Bucan, Harriet Min Zhang, Soyeon Park, Yifei Tang and Yuting Tang.
As part of extended public engagement, Breath Mark has collaborated with design studio An Endless Supply, on a digital microsite acting as a reading room allowing audiences to further engage with the artwork’s themes. We encourage visitors to extend their experiences through the texts, sounds and videos here: spaces.rca.ac.uk
Lisa Hall is a sound artist exploring how environments are built-in sound, while Hannah Kemp-Welch is a socially engaged artist concerned with listening. Hannah and Lisa met at London College of Communication while studying MA Sound Arts in 2010. They share an interest in public and private spaces, and how sound and audio technologies build networks and tell stories that often can’t be seen. They have collaborated on sound art projects for performances and installations at Tate Modern, CRiSAP, and Sound Reasons Festival: New Delhi.
HERVISIONS is a femme-focussed curatorial agency supporting and promoting artists working across new and emergent technologies, and platforms with a strong focus on the intersection of art, technology and culture. HERVISIONS partner with institutes, organisations and galleries to create antidisciplinary exhibitions and innovative commissions. Select partners include, LUX, Tate, bitforms and Google Arts and Culture.
Ayesha Tan Jones AKA YaYa Bones work is a spiritual practice that seeks to present an alternative, queer, optimistic dystopia. They work through ritual, meditating through craft, dancing through the veil betwixt nature and the other. Ayesha weaves a mycelial web of diverse, eco-conscious narratives which aim to connect, enthral and induce audiences to think more sustainably and ethically. Traversing pop music, sculpture, alter-egos, digital image and video work, Ayesha sanctifies these mediums as tool’s in their craft. Selected recent commissions/exhibitions include: Shanghai Biennale (2021) Athens Biennale (2021) Solo Show at Underground Flower Offsite (2020) Serpentine Galleries, London (2019) IMT Gallery, London (2019) Mimosa House, London (2018), ICA, London (2018-2020) Cell Project Space, London (2018) Gropius Bau, Berlin (2018) Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2016-17). Ayesha is represented by Harlesden High Street Gallery, London.
Desree is an award-winning spoken word artist, writer and facilitator based in London and Slough. Currently Artist in Residence for poetry collective EMPOWORD, Desree explores intersectionality, justice and social commentary. Producer for both Word Up and Word Of Mouth, finalist in 2018’s Hammer & Tongue national final and TEDx speaker, she has featured at events around the UK and internationally, including Glastonbury Festival 2019, Royal Albert Hall and Bowery Poetry New York. Burning Eye Publishers republished Desree’s first pamphlet, I Find My Strength In Simple Things, in May 2021.
Alex Dayo comes from Burkina Faso where his professional musical career started in the 1980’s, accompanying the National Ballet Kouledafourou on tour as well as playing for African Royalty and globally recognised dignitaries at private and public events and the Ensemble des Radios and Televisions of Burkina Faso, based in Bobo-Dioulasso. In 1985, he founded Wountey, a collective of musicians who created a new fusion of traditional and modern music called Plenguedey, and, for fifteen years, toured across Africa and Europe, spreading Burkina Faso’s cultural fusion to a wider audience. His musical collaborations include Ali Farka Toure, Femi Kuti and Salif Keita from Africa and traditional Master Griots from Burkina Faso/Mali/Guinea/Gambia. An accomplished arranger, Alex incorporates African traditional, Fusion, Jazz, Rock, Latin and Caribbean influences. Alex moved to London in 2007, where he set up a drumming school. A highlight of Alex’s career was being chosen to play at the Opening and Closing ceremonies at the London 2012 Olympics.
DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT
Studio Hyte is an award-winning design studio, working between graphic design, interaction, and emergent communication. Their work includes branding, print, website, installation, and exhibition design. Specializing in forward-thinking, multifaceted visual identities within the arts and education sector. Whether through commissioned or self-directed projects, they aim to create meaningful, accessible, and thought-provoking work.
Formed of a small group of individual practitioners, Studio Hyte is the middle ground where all of our interests and practices meet. Their collective practice and research cover a broad spectrum of topics including language, inclusion & accessibility, egalitarian politics & alternative protest, and technology & the human.