O U T P O S T
OutPost is an artist-led project and has been arrived at directly from the artists' own enthusiasm for certain areas of Essex. Originally initiated to draw attention to little known and secret parts of Essex offering pertinent and poignant links to local historical events and legends, OutPost grew to encompass many highly acclaimed artists and writers all driven with a similar desire to unearth a hidden layer of Essex, taking their work directly out into the community using semi-permanent displays positioned in fairly remote venues, aiming to directly engage the public in these unique and exceptional little-known locations.
Representing an artist’s view of of the layering of historical landscape, documenting the lie of the land as it stands at this moment in time, their observations are to be displayed at various 'Look-out' points in the context of regvealing pathways to hidden places.
This is a contrary picture to the commonly held vision of Essex; a close-to-London hybrid of urban living in a clean, wealthy, manicured environment. The hunt for a sense of wildness appears to be a deep-rooted fundamental urge and this project sets out to examine this and the yearn for the discovery of something other. It raises the question of whether it is the particular unique strangeness of the Essex landscape which is stimulating this searching desire, or the fascinating history of the people and place. Andrew Motion suggests ‘It is partly because wildness in early 21st-century Britain is a hard thing to find - pushed to the margins, where it has not been entirely vanquished by pollution and modern farming and population growth. - while many of our fundamental connections have been broken or lost, many remain - if only we have the sense and tuned senses to appreciate them.’ Artist George Shaw,in conversation with Jeremy Deller, likened the ‘certain atmosphere’ of landscape to ‘almost like tuning in, a sort of frequency’.
This search for something elusive has continued to transpire throughout Essex almost as a form of tradition. OutPost examines this exploration across the landscape, a search for something other. From JA Baker's 'The Peregrine' to Robert Macfarlane's 'The Wild Places' the wandering and observational hunt throughout Essex has continued to the present day.
WG Sebald has been a powerful inspiration for this form of psychogeographic philosophy;-’The Rings of Saturn, for instance - in which a descriptive ramble along the edge of East Anglia is interspersed with more or less freestanding reflections on characters and ideas - has its roots in late 19th-and early 20th-century travelogues of the kind written by Edward Thomas’ (Andrew Motion) also inspired Robert Macfarlane, whose ‘account of visits to various remote places in order to evoke their spirit of wildness is punctuated with reflections on climate change, on destruction of habitat, on individuals met along the way and others who hover in the wings of history, on kindred-spirit writers, and on larger matters of time and belonging. ‘ (Andrew Motion)
OutPost offers an opportunity to pull together all the threads of this cross fertilization and counter-map the Essex landscape, perhaps linking outlying venues with a new series of routes and perspectives.
OUTPOST Contributors; Ronald Blythe, James Canton, Ian Cooper, Heidi Jukes, Simon Keenleyside, Gary Lawrence, Adrian May, Richard Mabey, Robert Macfarlane, Rachel Spender, Philip Terry, Ultramarine,Becky Willis, Mark Wallinger, Ken Worpole
OUTPOST runs from mid July onwards, please check dates and venues for information on the following websites;
Funded by Essex County Council Micro-Grant