I have so enjoyed placing Simon Tyrrell's 'suite of signs', walking through the beautiful churchyard and Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds. Signs can be found at the Norman Tower, in the churchyard, the Abbey Ruins, gardens and Abbeygate Street.
A suite of signs to help address community’s abiding concerns about the insidious privatisation of public space, drawing primarily - as authority requires - on the contemporary lexicon of what’s considered material in planning decisions – the ‘visual amenity’ of land on which development is inappropriate except in ‘very special circumstances’ where ‘benefit outweighs harm’.
After Ian Hamilton Finlay I borrow from Heraclitus’s cryptic wordplay of opposites, as well as his own take on Poussin’s reflections on the arcadian idyll, on which we inevitably trespass and in which much of all kinds can be found.
I also celebrate the inadvertently pompous irony with which cultural custodians typically police access to their assets.
Simon Tyrrell is a writer and artist whose work celebrates the customary ways that people have presented and protected their community, and made sense of the relationships, time and space they share. He’s a founder of The Museum of Futures in South West London and is a member of PoPoGrou. He has performed and exhibited work at venues and festivals across London, in Bristol and Rhodes and his debut poetry collection, Presently, was published by Kingston University Press in 2022.
www.tyrrellknot.com Twitter @associatetyz Instagram @tyrrellknot
This intriguing sculpture - comforting yet repellent - is nestled in a wall in Looms Lane. Made by Alison Carlier in collaboration with her younger daughter Imogen, who did the crochet. The root of the word encroach is the same as the word crochet or hook. The silver claws hooking onto, or seizing.
Alison Carlier is an artist who works with mostly audio, both in co-production and collaboration with others. Her work centres around how humans engage and understand through what is seen and what is heard. She is especially interested in speech, language and how sounds can be perceived as musical. Alison won the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2014 with an audio drawing. She is currently collaborating with a neuroscientist for UCL as part of a knowledge exchange project.
http://www.alisoncarlier.com Instagram @alisoncarlier
The Meadows, cute name for a road, brutal demolition of the meadows.
No poisonous trees in Laburnham Road,
no watercourse at The Mallards,
The Woodpeckers have no trees,
no brambles left in Blackberry Close,
no Moor View for the houses behind the flats,
no salt marsh for The Godwits,
the Hollow Glade now full,
no horses on Paddock Road,
no needles at The Pines,
no fruit on Orchard Place,
no sports on Cricketers Close,
no whey down Curds Road,
no cygnets at Swans Nest,
no lovers on Buttercup Way,
no sheep on Drovers Road,
the Prospect Place is dire,
you get the idea
building building building
until there is nothing left
down the right of way.
groving places an emphasis on text this year and Stuart's powerful poem weaves through the project - today appearing in Hatter Street, Churchgate Street and Angel Lane.
Prospects is the first new publicly available poem I've written since 2018. The concept had been in my mind for a long time and I gathered the street names used in the piece over several years whilst on journeys around the UK. The theme for groving 2023 seemed to be a perfect fit for the idea so I wrote the poem with this in mind
I always seek out stickers when visiting new places, as stickers on lampposts and other street furniture are an indicator of social, cultural and counter-cultural activity in the area. This format therefore provided a perfect vehicle to display the poem in public spaces whilst accommodating the small parameters required by the commission.
Stuart Bowditch is an artist, musician and field recordist. His practice focuses on places and communities that exist on the fringes, both geographically and socially, with a particular interest in the sonic landscape, capturing overlooked and overheard noises and using sound as a documentative and creative medium. His sound recordings of people, their activities, experiences and environs have contributed to art installations, phone apps, archival records, radio broadcasts, podcasts, dance performances, public consultation events, musical compositions, a computer game, a eulogy and sound tracks to short films.
www.stuartbowditch.co.uk Email firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram @bowditchstuart Twitter @stuartbowditch
Alban Low is an illustrator and artist. He works closely with musicians on the London jazz scene, and is currently the host of the jazz show on Brooklands radio. In recent years he has created large scale public art projects for Roehampton University, Kingston University and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuro-imaging. In 2023 he spent a month working in Paris, creating films and drawings about the 18th arrondissement. A keen public artist, he has exhibited work in Bury St Edmunds as part of Groving, and was a Grove artist in residence in 2018.The first artwork and interpretation of the theme Encroach can be found at the corner of St Andrews Street South and Woolhall Street.
Natalie and I started working on our groving project while spending time in the Goutte D'Or, the African quarter of Paris. We talked a lot about being the outsiders or interlopers in a city. We visited the flea market at Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen in Clignancourt. It was full of discarded personal knick-knacks, a menu of forgotten lives. We felt far from the comfort of home, even small objects and memories took on a new significance.
Natalie Low enjoys putting words on paper and believes that everyone has a book of some sort inside them. She has published two chapbooks, Dementia (2015) and School Run (2017). She has contributed to groving in previous years and is a regular contributor to CollectConnect exhibitions, both as a writer and artist/maker. Instagram nat.low
Alban Low is an illustrator and artist. He works closely with musicians on the London jazz scene, and is currently the host of the jazz show on Brooklands radio. In recent years he has created large scale public art projects for Roehampton University, Kingston University and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuro-imaging. In 2023 he spent a month working in Paris, creating films and drawings about the 18th arrondissement. A keen public artist, he has exhibited work in Bury St Edmunds previously as part of groving, and was a grove artist in residence in 2018.
The theme for groving 2023 is Encroach. In common with many areas of the UK, Bury St Edmunds is experiencing a huge expansion in housing, including infill, new estates in the town and on the outskirts. Rapid development can feel overwhelming for residents, and puts pressure on infrastructure. This encroachment impacts physically but also on our sense of space and room to exercise, to breather.
More concerning, our expansion of the built environment inexorably erodes the habitats and space available for wildlife in an unequal battle for resources. Even brownfield sites provide valuable habitats for wildlife, broken ground to enable run off, and welcome gaps in a relentless urban landscape.
Whilst housing developments require planning consent, there is a subtle but persistent erosion and threat to our common land and rights of way. But encroachment isn't always negative - a positive example would be the speed at which plant life colonises empty land, which quickly becomes home to a complex ecosystem of insect, animal and bird life.
There are many forms of encroachment in contemporary life, when our personal space and privacy feel invaded - can be invaded. There is the constant media output, we can be subject to sensory overload.
We used to leave our private space for work, for shopping or entertainment but these have all now infiltrated out homes. There is no longer a separation between our private and public domains, and we are influenced, indeed controlled, by technology.
The artists responding to this theme are Mianam Bashir, Stuart Bowditch, Jacquie Campbell, A & I Carlier, Alban Low & Natalie Low, Heidi McEvoy Swift, Julia Manheim and Urve Opik, Simon Tyrrell.
I am an artist and the curator for grove and groving. This blog is groving online, and records the artworks placed on the streets of Bury St Edmunds along with responses to the work by commissioned writers.