An Artist commission for Estuary 2016, a new biennial arts festival for the Thames Estuary region. This was a one day installation and live event at Coalhouse Fort Tilbury, on 25th September 2016.
The WW2 minefield control tower is reimagined as a ‘stupa’ (shrine) as a reflection on Power and Protection.
Much like a stupa, this military structure exists toprotect against perceived evil forces, reinforced by the fact that the fort itself is thought to be a site for paranormal activity.
I designed eight series of contemporary prayer flags, around 120 in all, conceived to emanate positivity and to bring about a transformation when installed on the tower for one day. These could be perceived as a kind of ‘feminisation’ of hostile ‘masculine’ concrete territory.
A live soundscape, located inside the tower itself, produced a dramatic evocation of both militarism and mysticism. At twilight, projections started to emerge from the surface of the structure which, after dark, completely transformed it into a mesmerising sound and vision spectacle.
The flags present complex imagery based on a shoe motif, this is response to two key themes of the Thames Estuary:
1. The Bata shoe factory, just minutes away from the fort, one of the first mass manufacturers of affordable shoes in the UK, with its Utopian promise and demand of ‘Shoes for All’
2. The multiple leather shoe parts recently excavated from the HMS London shipwreck, perfectly preserved in the Estuary mud for nearly 400 years.
The symbolic images are part-appropriated from a number of sources: architectural blue prints and design patterns, geographical features and crystals, maps and population graphs, images of hand knitted garments and consumer objects…
I utilised commercial manufacturing processes to reproduce these images including digital fabric printing, laser cut and heat pressed holographic/metallic vinyl.
See link to Vice magazine article:
See link to film here: