Jon England, Nejc Čož & Wouter Knoben
‘Parish Notices’ consists of a pair of artworks each created in former parish notice boards. The works respond to two of the most dramatic events in the history of the Somerset levels, separated by over 400 years, the 1607 tsunami and the floods of 2014.
The works are simultaneously characterised by a series of commonalities and oppositions, representing the contrasts between these historic and contemporary events but also their cyclical and repeating nature.
The first work portrays a section of an engraving depicting the 1607 flood, reproduced in rusty pins and nails. The combination of image and materials (including historic square, cut nails) expresses both the single event, the accumulated histories communicated through this receptacle and repeated attempts to engineer a solution to the problem.
The second piece takes the form of a QR code (linking to the Land of the Summer People website) constructed from shiny, galvanised nuts and bolts. Its pixelated form contrast the pictorial form of its companion piece reflecting both the mediated experience of recent events and renewed efforts to engineer solutions to issues of flooding.
In using the notice boards as our canvases we reflect how regardless of the date of flooding events, the effect on local individuals and communities remains profound and that within the Somerset Levels the relationship between society, water and place is continually evolving and always complex.
However the process of creating these models allowed us to appreciate these processes in minutes. It was a very useful teaching tool which is a fair reflection of the purpose of the project; to communicate science visually. After talking to Nicola (one of the staff members at the Centre) it left me with the impression that there will not be a concurrent solution, such as dredging. She stated that although the last years flood actually damaged very little Willow, it did prevent its harvesting which was a problem specific to themselves. Obviously this links back into the discussion of better land use management. Do we flood a small town or do we flood an area of willow and compensate the owners?”.
The group would like to thank Nicola and the staff at the Willows and Wetlands Centre, Stoke St Gregory, for their support.