Peterborough Soil [final phase] Permanent work installed 16th November 2010 Project Curator: Gillian Barclay Project Management: Gillian Barclay, Lisa Helin, Kevin Tighe
The 4 phases of the Peterborough Soil project Calling / Gathering Peterborough Soil [first phase] Phase 1 of the project was the call for people of Peterborough to contribute images of Peterborough to a dedicated website. These images, places in Peterborough that hold a special memory or are considered to be a favourite place in the city, were collected through the website and at the museum. Alongside of the images a short text, in relation to the image, was also welcomed. The images formed the bulk of the content of the 2nd phase of the project.
Construction / Distribution Peterborough Soil [second phase] Phase 2 of the project was the collation, design and construction of the received images into a newspaper. The Peterborough Soil newspapers were widely distributed throughout the city. Streets, buses and trains were used as sites to ‘give back’ the newspaper to the city. This sharing with people of the images and texts submitted formed a series of public transactions. A proportion of the newspapers were saved and used in phase 3 of the project.
Installation / Transformation Peterborough Soil [third phase] Phase 3 of the project took the form of an installation for Peterborough museum. The installation housed two industrial cages accommodating the processes of newspaper distribution and shredding whilst the other contained a converted compost tumbler that transformed, in the ratio of 80% paper to 20% vegetative matter, the newspapers into soil. In this manner the Peterborough Soil became both metaphorically and actually a soil containing the images and texts of Peterborough submitted by people from Peterborough. Other sculptural elements were introduced to the installation. These enabled me to conduct a number of experiments and tests in order to determine at what point the soil can sustain plant life.
Redistribution / Permanence Peterborough Soil [final phase] Phase 4 of the project saw the constructed soil returned to the City of Peterborough. The soil was placed into the fabric of the newly constructed St Johns Square. The live event of this action ‘Redistribution’ saw the soil becoming a permanent element of the nourishment of the grassed area that people will stand, sit and walk across in the square. In this manner the soil that is metaphorically and actually a soil containing the images and texts of Peterborough submitted by people from Peterborough will forever be at a border between people and the earth, a kind of live archaeological presence; an intelligent soil enriched with a renewed belief in the values of us.