In 1896 social reformer, Octavia Hill, wrote an article on the need for people to have green space, ‘hilltops free from buildings’ and ‘purity of air’. The piece was titled simply ‘Space for the People’.
This influential piece, along with the protests by Hill and local residents, prevented developers building on Hilly Fields, preserving this beautiful park for future generations. People power was as important then as it is today.
So have things really moved on? We face the same issues as Octavia Hill campaigned for; a lack of affordable housing, the constant threat of developers taking land and those with nothing being deprived of an adequate environment to live in; a place of privacy, peace and safety.
Inside the Caravan
The site specific installation for Croft Fest imagined what ‘space for the people’ means in the 21st century.
The caravan was transformed into a miniature indoor garden, inspired by Chinese Gardens and the dry Zen Gardens of the Japanese. All elements included have a place; the rocks, the gravel symbolising water, the balance between elements imitating not nature itself but its essence. This was a space for thinking, calm and contemplation; for viewing the garden from outside, without the intrusion of others, the media or phones, but where the world was also real and present. The caravan can be seen as a metaphor for the mental space of the mind, or it can be seen literally – a micro space for living yet an environment made positive. Local artist, Kaori Homma‘s fire etchings of Japanese landscapes were displayed within the installation.
Visitors were invited to spend a few minutes on their own, to sit and contemplate who needs space today and why?
Outside the caravan
Outside there were workshops for children making Origami Lotus Flowers and Carp
The Lotus Flower stands for contemplation
The Carp for strength and perseverance
After the activity, the origami makers could place the flower wherever they liked
inside or outside the caravan to make the garden come to life!