ARTIST KEITH HARRISON, COMMISSION FOR THE JERWOOD OPEN FOREST PRIZE, 2018.
Keith Harrison was successful in achieving the Jerwood Open Forest Prize 2017, and I participated in the construction of the piece and the marshalling at the event. The event was in partnership with the Forestry Commission. The construction of the ramp took 3 weeks and the take down took 1 week to complete. The event held over 500 ticketed guests in the Forest in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.
I was chosen to assist Keith Harrison’s Joyride commission, and the experience very different to experiences that I have had in the past. We started volunteering on the project at Bath University in the Architecture department, to discuss the project and the stages involved, and where we as volunteers would feature in the project. There were approximately 11 volunteers involved, from Bath University and Bath Spa University. This became a good networking platform with other creative practitioners in the similar industries.
After helping with the initial preliminary stages of the project, the event took place in September 2017. I found the event integral in learning how larger scale commissions work for major artists. I was able to observe the whole process, including the application, the results from conversations with engineers and architects and the events logistics.
I was mainly involved with the construction work of the ramp. I used my technical skills to measure, cut and assist the tying of the rope that held the tree trucks together for the whole of the construction. The work was physically demanding, but having a methodical plan in place made the project run smoothly. I volunteered for the duration of a week, before the event took place. Where my practical, organisational and technical skills were also put into practice. I worked on the project on the day of the event and on the event itself. I assisted with signage, transport and health and safety issues before the event commenced in the evening. I was instructed to marshal, collect tickets and mark out car park spaces for where the audience would be positioned in the grounds of the forest. This being a very important and integral part of the performance of the car running down the ramp. As told, I instructed the 500+ ticketed audience members to turn on their car headlights, in order for the cameras to pick up the atmosphere that Keith Harrison had envisaged for this event. The event as a whole was inspirational and I was able to network with many of the public and discussing the artists previous work.