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How do we experience the concept of public land when we can hardly see it? What happens to a place of leisure when the users are gone?

Layzell/Paxton

The Naming is a research project challenging and questioning how, through categorization and naming, we distance ourselves from aspects of the natural world and the cultural world.

Inspirational figures are Jane Jacobs, Arne Naess (who chained himself to Mardalsfossen waterfall in Norway in 1970 to prevent a dam being built), First Nations beliefs in general and especially the Mi’kmaq community in Nova Scotia and the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus.

The work Richard is producing includes discussions, performances, ‘interventions’, audio recordings, video, photography, ‘imprints’ using the earliest form of printing known as Takuhon, and an ongoing body of creative writing. He is celebrating particular trees and the songs of particular birds, especially the pied butcherbird from Australia.

Common As Muck

A Nomadic Residency exploring Stroud’s Mucky and Wonderful Common

Richard Layzell will be sharing his project online in collaboration with Stroud Valley Artspace (SVA). Each day will present a new adventure as he explores the remarkable common land surrounding Stroud, including Rodborough, Minchinhampton and Selsey Commons. These great commons have been handed down to us through the ages as places of public ownership and access, but how free do they really feel on the ground? What are the obstacles to our ‘right to roam’? Are rules being broken? What about the cows, the SUVs, the golf course, the overnight camper vans, the surrounding grand houses, the footpaths, the prehistoric field systems, the Neolithic long barrow, the hang gliders and the brambles?

Layzell’s project continues his sixteen-year relationship with SVA and follows on from The Value of Mush, a ‘love letter to Stroud’s car parks’ and online project presented in January. The Value of Mush and Common as Muck are both part of Layzell’s umbrella project The Naming, in which he works with maverick environmentalist Kino Paxton to challenge the ways we distance ourselves from aspects of the natural world by categorising and naming things.

Follow @LayzellPaxton on Facebook and @layzell_paxton on Instagram for daily updates of Layzell’s adventures.

Online exhibition: Marvell Park, Richard Layzell (2021)
Online exhibition: Marvell Park, Richard Layzell (2021)
1 April – 1 July 2021

Marvell Park is a new film produced by Richard Layzell as part of his ongoing work as LUX’s Creative Ecologist engaged with the material and context of Waterlow Park in Highgate where the organisation is based. Tracking the extraordinary year of 2020, the film is a playful and personal mediation on a state of being and interacting with nature and the space of the park. The film continues Layzell’s research project, The Naming which seeks to challenge and question how, through categorization and naming, we distance ourselves from aspects of the natural world and the cultural world.

Watch film.