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. We believe it’s time to re-explore our public spaces as vast platforms not just for shared experiences but shared choices we make together.
That’s why we are launching the People’s Park Plinth – a project that turns the whole of the park into a platform for public digital artworks and asks you to pick the one you want for your park.
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). From here you’ll discover a different digital art experience each month in May, June and July. 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. Note that only one is live each month, so you’ll have to come back again for more.
In August ALL the digital art experiences will be on show again but this time we want you to tell us which one belongs right here in the heart of Finsbury Park.
It’s your park so it’s your pick!
You can sign up for updates on when each artwork goes live AND receive your own magical voting token for August (see below for how voting works).
Breath Mark x Lisa Hall & Hannah Kemp-Welch
Live in May and August 2021
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.
In this first artwork for the People’s Park Plinth on display during the summer of 2021, one pathway ‘Close to the ground’ is operational. If this work is selected in a public vote in August 2021, further pathways and interactivity will be developed.
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.
Hervisions x Ayesha Tan Jones
Live in June and August 2021
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.
For this first iteration of the artwork for the People’s Park Plinth revealed in June, we are sharing the stories of the London Plane tree. If this work is selected in a public vote in August 2021, the audience will be invited to follow a magical trail of clues to find other tree sprites and experience their stories.
Desree x Drumming School with Alex Dayo x Studio Hyte
Live in July and August 2021
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.
If Future Fictions of Finsbury Park is selected in the public vote in August 2021, the audience will be presented with the entire The Light and Dark story, as well as two additional augmented reality stories written by writers-in-residence in the park. The three-story AR zine will be exhibited in the park this autumn and offered as a limited edition print-on-demand booklet that can be ordered for free and delivered directly to the doors of local residents.
In August, when you have experienced all 3 digital artworks, we want you to pick which one you think belongs in the heart of Finsbury Park by either:
When we know which digital art experience you want more of, we will work with the artists to make a bigger and better version – and then we will put it right here on the People’s Park Plinth this autumn!
We want everyone to express an opinion – even if you’re far away what you feel matters too. But if you live locally what you feel matters more – so we’ve 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.