The Footprint Project

2006

The Gardner Arts Centre, Stanmer Park, Brighton

‘How many maps, in the descriptive or geographical sense, might be needed to deal exhaustively with a given space, to code and decode all its meanings and contents?’

Henri Lefebvre 1901-91

The award winning Footprint Project focused on Stanmer Park, near Brighton; it was a collaboration between the sculptor Will Nash and the everyday users of the park.  The project observed the park as a living network of pathways, kept live by the flow of people moving through it.  Two thousand maps of the park, designed and produced by Nash, were distributed in Stanmer Park and the surrounding areas between February and June 2006.  Visitors to the park were asked to mark their ‘routes’ around the park on the map; two hundred and thirty five completed maps were returned.  The collected ‘route marks’ became the raw data, source material for a new body of sculptures and prints which observe and celebrate the perambulations of the public in their landscape.

The Footprint Project culminated with an exhibition at the Gardner Arts Centre (7 February – 31 March 2007).  The Gardner exhibition consisted of sculptures, prints, and a selection of maps completed by project participants.  Works generated by the project include the wall sculpture ‘Saturday’ made from laser cut; painted steel, it is made up of all the walks recorded on the first Saturday of the project. A series of C type digital prints consist of images made up of the routes taken by people who walked in Stanmer Park and/or engaged with specific activities over a specific period.  The Print ‘Kite Flying Tree Climbers June’ is, as the title suggests, made up from the routes of individuals who flew kites and climbed trees in June.

The Footprint Project was funded by the Art Plus award scheme.  The Art Plus Award Scheme for Art in Public Places is a joint initiative by Arts Council England, South East and the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).  The Footprint exhibition was also supported by the Arts Council, the Buckminster Fuller Institute and the University of Brighton.