Explorations In Slowness

A walking documentary for Pooley Park, Warwickshire

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Explorations in Slowness is a guided walk made for Pooley Park in Warwickshire. The piece was commissioned as part of a public consultancy to re- develop the park.

I invited members of the public to take me for a walk, their usual route. During these walks I recorded our conversations and tried to find out what people found special about Pooley Park, why they walked there etc. A lot of people said it was beautiful and tranquil. Initially I found this strange, the M42 runs through the middle of the park, most of the park is naturally regenerated Brownfield (ex industrial) and the large mound in the middle is a slag heap left by the mine. In fact, taking a walk around the park there is a quality to it. This site is not a beautiful landscape in the sense of the constructed, Romantic landscape, however it speaks of our time - a post industrial, naturally re-generated site with a motorway cutting through it. Somehow has an honesty to it, a charm or even an integrity, Perhaps that sense also comes from its history, before the mine there was centuries of activity here. People talk about Ley lines. Maybe there is something in it, a magnetic need to keep walking the paths that have been walked for years.

To Make the Guided walk I transcribed all of the conversations I had on my walks with people and created an archive. The most frequently discussed subjects became headings; beauty, tranquillity, walking, nature and consevervation, these headings were then researched and written up within a context to create 8 information boards and a guided walk around the park. Each one of the noticeboards reflects an aspect of the park but also seeks to transcend the locality inviting people to consider the nature of walking, the idea of the guided walk, questions about beauty, tranquility, the constructed landscape and history. In a sense the noticeboards sought to create an interface which mediated the thoughts of the people who use the park, the nature of being there and also the relationship between reading the text, looking and walking around. How does reading a text about the landscape as a construction, in the landscape, effect the way one sees it?

In many ways this project is a walking documentary of Pooley Park, outlining the idea’s and reflections of local people who use the park. For me the work happened on several levels but primarily in the process that the texts will inform. As the planners and regenerators begin to make changes to Pooley these boards clearly vocalise the feelings of local people about the park. If commercial changes are made to significantly change the park the noticeboards stand as a testimony to how people feel about the place. However, what I hope will happen, is that the regeneration process is positively effected and informed by the voices of the people that live here and that its development builds on their love of the parks natural habitat, tranquility and beauty.

This is an ongoing exhibition, for address and directions email via this site.

All design and production Project © Jennie Savage 2007