Space for the People: Croft Fest 2017

In 1896 social reformer, Octavia Hill, wrote that people need green space, ‘hilltops free from buildings’ and ‘purity of air’. The piece was titled simply ‘Space for the People’.

This influential article, 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 is 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 is 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 is 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 are displayed within the installation.

Visitors are invited to spend a few minutes on their own, to sit and contemplate who needs space today and why?

Outside the caravan
Outside there are free 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 can place the flower wherever they like
inside or outside the caravan to make the garden come to life

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