Marshall Murray & Forum National Sculpture Symposuim
Summer 2014, Riverhill, Sevenoaks
"Under the Wildlife and country side act of 1981 it is illegal to distribute the seeds or plant Himalayan Balsam in the British Isles. However 142 years before this legislation was introduced a member of the Royal Horticultural Society brought Himalayan Balsam to this Country as an ornamental plant to be enjoyed like orchids in an enclosed environment. Unfortunately balsam was set free and now, through its extraordinary seed distribution ‘popping’, it has spread everywhere and cannot be stopped.
I want to do something quite different from normal symposium ideas where you have one material or element and go with it. For me it’s about marrying a few together to make the viewer think. The shrine will mirror a colonial design and incorporate a working apiary as well as some of the incredible joinery from within the main house."
Playing with our attitudes towards some of the nonindigenous species brought back by the Plant Hunter history of Riverhill the piece is both beautiful, thoughtprovoking and productive (it will produce around 21lbs of honey annually!).
Ship of Fools
B-side Festival Installation - 2010
This piece was in response to the Olympic sailing events being held in Weymouth and Portland
Working closely with engineers and doctors at Dorchester Hospital I wanted to explore the physics of electro magnets and the possibility of placing one in a hull of a boat so that any ferrite material underneath it will be attracted to the underside of the ship. Its possible to make the whole hull a fully functional electro magnet which can be switched on or off.
The Olympics ‘attracts’ worldwide attention. We improve infrastructure, develop underprivileged areas and make careers for ourselves but after 2012, when all the cameras are turned away a boat will sail the same as it has done for thousands of years.
I would like to propose the ultimate temporary sculpture. ‘Ship of Fools’ is a gold leafed magnetised sailing hull which is supported by the shear ferrite shards of metal beneath it. Like a true sculpture it can be fully appreciated by walking around it’s whole mass. When the Olympics ‘end’ the magnet will be turned off and all the attracted metals will fall to the ground. For me it is comment on the nature of the Olympics and what potential it can bring to a town but also what happens when its ‘magnetism’ is turned off. Having spoken with an Olympic Stadium structural adviser at the Sydney village on a vacation in 2007, the general comment of the area is a ‘ghost town’:
“Sydney Olympic Park – the centrepiece for the Games – became yet another white elephant after the Games closed…"We didn't really have a policy for what would happen to the Olympic site after the Games," Sue Holliday admits, the former chief planner for the Sydney Games…” (Independent newspaper article, ‘After the Party’, August 2008).
This piece will be approximately 6 ft high. It can go inside or an outside space but it needs power. It will be accompanied with a short film displaying the metal crashing to the ground when the magnets are turned off. The metal beneath the hull can be seen as supports for the sculpture.
In every sense of the word it is a totally 3D piece, where the nature of the structure changes as you move around it. At the front you will see the beautiful shape of the hull supported by ‘waves’ of metal while as you go round the iron fillings are more desperate and clingy; a sail boat looks beautiful on top of the water but underneath she has barnacles like everything else.