02 May 2012
Forest Pitch is an art project which is part of the London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad. I am building a full size football pitch in the middle of a commercial Spruce plantation in the Scottish Borders. Two football matches will be played on the pitch on 21st July 2012, one men’s game and one women’s which the public will be invited to attend. The players will all be amateurs, resident in Scotland who have been granted British citizenship or leave to remain since the year 2000.
After the games, the site will be left to grow back. We are replanting along the dimensions of the football pitch, with a variety of native trees, and the site will be accessible to the public for up to 60 years, where they will be able to observe the slow transformation of the space as it is returned to a ‘natural’ state.
The nature of these plantations is of interest to me, as they provide an interesting focal point for questioning what we think natural environments are. I am interested in our responses to woodland which have a commercial purpose, with trees that were imported to this country because of their natural propensity to quick, dense growth and their usefulness for human consumption. While these trees are not native to Scotland, they are a valuable addition to the landscape. However, plantations such as this do not allow for the growth of much else – with our replanting, we hope to diversify the environment, and create interesting relationships between what is considered ‘native’ and ‘non-native’. I believe that like an effective environment, an effective society also consists of variety and diversity.
Post by the artist Craig Coulthard.
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