For the Birds

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A project by Gabor Stark & Emilio Koutsoftides, 2017

The stacked roost tower references the carved narratives and representations of animal spirits of the totem typology that can be found in Manitoba. The region is famous for its great avian diversity and around 50 out of the 150 recorded bird species spend the winter in Winnipeg. The segments of the interlocking timber structure provide a vertical cluster of bird habitats as well as a landmark for the walkers and skaters on the frozen  Red and Assiniboine Rivers. While the upper section holds sixty nesting boxes for woodpeckers, chickadees, shrikes, nuthatches, waxwings, sparrows and finches, the lower part can be entered by one human at a time. Stepping from the open into the interior of the tower, visitors find shelter from the wind and their attention is directed towards the sounds of the surrounding landscape and the framed view of the sky.

Competition entry: Warming Huts 2018, Winnipeg, Canada

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For the Birds

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Thomas, Jane, Rem, Colin, Bernhard, Robert and Denise go to the Beach

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Here a few slides from my pecha kucha talk at the Urban Design Autumn School in Margate, Kent. The fictional book covers are based on the speculation: What if T. S. Eliot, Jane Jacobs, Rem Koolhaas, Colin Rowe, Bernhard Tschumi, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown had visited Margate and had written a book about it?

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Unlike the other, fictional weekenders, T. S. Eliot actually did visit Margate. In 1921, recovering from a nervous breakdown, Eliot spent a few weeks at the Kent coast and wrote Part III of his poem The Waste Land while sitting in the seaside shelter at Nayland Rock.

“On Margate Sands.  

I can connect

Nothing with nothing.

The broken fingernails of dirty hands.

My people humble people who expect

Nothing.”

Exhibition in Pafos / 26 September – 03 October 2017

PolyCatOikia_A0_Emilio Koutsoftides + Gabor Stark

Alongside projects by the Neapolis University School of Architecture, Engineering, Land & Environmental Sciences and the other Pafos 2017 SECOND NATURE installations, the PolyCatOikia will be featured in the Lines of Production / Producing Lines exhibition curated by Solon Xenopoulos, Εvanthia Dova and Αngeliki Sivitanidou.

Lines of Production / Producing Lines

Attikon Cinema

Evagora Pallikaridi, Pafos, Cyprus

Tuesday 26 September – Tuesday 3 October 2017, opening times: 16:00-19:00

Private view: Friday 28 September 19:00

https://precariouspropositions.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/polycatoikia-pafos-2017-european-capital-of-culture/

WWI Commemorative Project in Kent

 

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EKR – The Friendly Army. 

WW1 Commemorative Project by Gabor Stark, in collaboration with East Kent Railway, 2014-2016

The DMAG Dover Museums & Arts Group project Joined Up has brought together museums, heritage and the arts in the Dover District. Artists were allocated to each of the ten participating cultural organisations, where they researched the site-specific connections to the First World War and created artworks that interpret each collection in a new way. Gabor Stark was the artist who worked with the East Kent Railway heritage line. The industrial railway, originally built to serve the Kent coalfield, today is run entirely by volunteers and visitors can ride restored heritage trains between the villages of Shepherdswell and Eythorne.

The Friendly Army consists of six sited sculptures that trace the historical connections of the site to World War One and mark the thresholds and crossings between the remaining line and its surrounding landscape. All materials were found on site and the sculptures were built together with the EKR volunteers. Placed permanently in the landscape, the sculptural pioneers now guard the tracks, visually re-establish the former links with the East Kent collieries and guide visitors and passers-by along a sequence of stations and situations.

 

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Dragoon

The sculpture is inspired by the war horses that were transported on the East Kent Railway line to and from the Hammill (Woodnesborough) Colliery during World War I. Shortly after the outbreak of the war the Hammill site was taken over by a cavalry remount unit and horses were stabled in the colliery buildings before being deployed to the front. In total, more than one million British horses were sent overseas and just over 60,000 returned. Dragoon also alludes to the heraldic dragon of The Buffs Royal East Kent.

Cross

The structure translates the EKR crossing signs along the tracks into three-dimensional elements. Placed beside Shepherdswell Road at the first farmers crossing after the Golgotha Tunnel, the sculpture alludes to wayside and conciliation crosses and pays tribute to the war memorials in Shepherdswell, Eythorne and other villages in East Kent.

Organ

Owing to the strategic importance of the East Kent Railway, which used to connect Richborough Port with the London-Dover main line, the army had a presence on the site in both, the First and Second World War. Mounted at the farmers crossing in Eythorne, Organ recalls the muzzles of the Howitzer railway guns that were stationed at the sidings at Eythorne and Shepherdswell in WWII.

Receiver

The sculpture references the acoustic location devices that preceded radar technology. Sound location was used from mid-WWI to the early years of WWII for the passive detection of enemy aircraft by picking up the noise of the engines. A few sound mirrors can still be found along the Kent coast. The two metal tubes of Receiver are EKR water pipes dating from the 1910s. They originally connected the water well to the storage tank in The Knees Woods at Shepherdswell, feeding the water towers along the tracks. The pipes now act as listening devices channelling the ambient soundscape at Eythorne Station.

Tower

The vertical form of Tower is derived from the chimneys and headgear structures of the collieries that were served by the East Kent Railway line. During World War I miners were employed to tunnel and plant explosives beneath enemy lines. The sculpture is placed next to the public footpath in Eythorne, linking to the Miners Heritage Trail and leading walkers along the remains of the former collieries and mining villages of the Kent Coalfield.

Pegasus

The winged sculpture takes its inspiration from the German airplanes that flew via Shepherdswell to Dover during the last Moonlight Raid on England on the night of the 19th to the 20th of May 1918. Pegasus is placed on the surviving brick abutment of Wigmore Lane Bridge, which used to continue to Tilmanstone Colliery. The statue marks the northern end of the remaining East Kent Railway line.

 

Credits

EKR – The Friendly Army, 2014-16

A project by Gabor Stark in collaboration with East Kent Railway

Shepherdswell & Eythorne, Dover District, Kent, UK

Part of the WWI DMAG Project Joined Up. Organised by Dover Arts Development, Joanna Jones & Clare Smith

Funded by Kent County Council and Arts Council England

 

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Clare and Joanna at DAD, to all fellow DMAG artist and to all staff and volunteers at East Kent Railway. Special thanks go to Alison and Mark Hopewell at EKR. Without Mark’s knowledge, skills and continuous support the project would not have been possible.

 

Links

http://artistsww1.uk/projects/the-friendly-army/

http://www.dadonline.eu/dmag-categories/east-kent-railway/

http://eastkentrailway.co.uk

On this blog

https://precariouspropositions.wordpress.com/2016/02/20/the-friendly-army/

https://precariouspropositions.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/three-sentinels-at-east-kent-railway/

https://precariouspropositions.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/cross-and-dragoon/

https://precariouspropositions.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/the-friendly-army-pegasus/