Cae/Field
Art/ecology collaboration at Ffynnonofi, Wales

August 2022 

Introduction 

The Field (y Cae) is an experimental ‘art ecology’ project adjacent to Mike Perry’s studio in West Wales. The land has sufferred decades of sheep grazing leaving it degraded of wildlife and biodiversity. The intention is to bring back nature. The process will be recorded from the initial fencing off of the field (May 2022) and will be a collaboration between artists, ecologists, writers and local volunteers. The project will include a blog, exhibitions, performances, talks, ecology reports, films and a publication at an appropriate point to bring it all together.

Art Themes

To make Field an ‘experimental space’ for artists to explore new ways of engaging with the rural ‘landscape’ in times of a climate and biodiversity crisis and government inaction. A space for both critical reflection and beyond into the creation of new ways of being. The project will encourage art engagement with ‘local’ land, challenging beliefs that ‘beauty’ and ‘significance’ in the landscape (particularly here in a National Park) only come from the dramatic or scenic locations. Thus to challenge the narrative that you have to go to the arctic to make work about climate change. The project will explore the idea of land as ‘transitional space’, questioning ideas of fixed ‘ideal landscapes’. Nature engagement and art practice as a ‘slow’ multilayered experimental journey. The field will become an expression of human values shaped by the collaborators. The role of place is of particular interest. What role does ‘Welshness’ and local knowledge play in these times of climate emergency, species extinction and Brexit. What is it’s contribution in a crisis that is global. How does Welsh language, local culture and geography interact and contribute ?

Environmental Themes

To observe and record the regeneration of wildlife resulting from the new relationship with the land and to gain better understanding of the changes that are taking place as a result of accelerating climate change. We aim to explore small but important ways of increasing biodiversity and capturing carbon. For example, creating a mini lake, building swallow homes and wild beehives, the encouragement of wild grasses/ flowers, repairing depleted hedgerows, and planting native and new varieties of trees. Critically, the project aims to understand the impacts of reduced ‘mono grazing’ and the benefits to biodiversity of a more mosaic approach to land management. In summary, this initiative aims to create a ‘rejuvenated area of land’ through an art/science participatory process that can act as an example of how land can be reformed locally and thus inspire others to take similar action. To help communities build corridors of connected rejuvenated land. And to inform and challenge art practice dealing with landscape.

Aerial view of the field at Ffynnonofi farm, Dinas Cross, Pembrokeshire, SA420SD, Wales. 52°00’54″N 4°54’31″W

Collaborations

The intention is to attract welsh and international artists to participate as well as local ecologists and volunteers. Advisors currently include Ann Jones (Arts Consultant), Professor Stephen Tooth (Chair of Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University), Bronwen Colquhoun (Senior Curator of Photography, National Museum Wales), Christopher Coppock (x Arts Director and National Park Councillor) and Stephen Evans (Ecologist).

The start of the project coincides with the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Wales. It was 36.5 degrees in the shade at Ffynnonofi, West Wales on July 18th, 2022

Mike Perry, 36.5 degrees centigrade, y Cae, Ffynnonofi, Wales, 18.7.2022
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