The World After, 2018-2019
New Geographies Commission
Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea
New Geographies and the East Contemporary Visual Arts Network (ECVAN) selected artists to create ten major site-responsive visual arts commissions across the East of England. The artists selected are: Maria Anastassiou, David Blandy, Cooking Sections, Ian Giles, Krijn de Koning, Taylor Le Melle & Zadie Xa, Susan Pui San Lok, Studio Morison, Stuart Whipps and Laura Wilson.
David Blandy will be working with Focal Point Gallery on a project inspired by the nature reserve of Canvey Wick on the south west corner of Canvey Island, Essex. The new work will be shown at the gallery in 2019.
Blandy is interested in the post-human environment of Canvey Wick, formerly the site of an oil refinery, which has since been reclaimed by nature and is now described as a "brownfield rainforest". It has a nationally important population of invertebrates, including many endangered species.
He plans to use these species as inspiration for characters and creatures for a new Dungeons & Dragons style table top game.
New Geographies is a three-year project, funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, to create a new map of the East of England based on personal thoughts, reflections and stories of unexplored or overlooked places, rather than on historic or economical centres. The first phase of the project invited members of the public to nominate locations for the map in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, over a three-month period in the Summer of 2017.
This resulted in over 270 nominations, including the Petrified Forest of Mundon (Essex), the Concrete Pyramid off Great Yarmouth’s coast (Norfolk), an abandoned Tesco supermarket in Chatteris (Cambridgeshire) and Cardington Airship Hangar Site in Bedford (Bedfordshire).
Via an international open call, artists were then invited to submit proposals for artworks inspired by the nominated locations. The final commissions were selected by a panel made up of ECVAN’s partner organisations.