A new road through a traditional English rural landscape presents a number of problems which can be solved responsibly. Approaching this from an artist's point of view will give unexpected results.
Weymouth Relief Road from an artist's point of view
from road to road
Public art varies from wall paintings, via sculpture, to a symbiosis between natural surroundings and art. When art is attuned to its environment it becomes site specific. It can be in harmony with a location or site - but it can also complement it by being different - contrasting it. Depending on its environment it can be dominant or subdominant. Site specific art can only be viewed in real life on the location for which it was made. In most situations site specific art is static. To see and undergo it, one must move around it enter it or occupy it.
Undergoing art is done in confrontation. In many cases this takes place in the home, a gallery, museum or in the public space. And in most cases one is on foot. The factor time plays a role when one moves around a work of art - the time it takes to explore it, but also the time one has to undergo and fully understand it.
But art in the road environment is different in that only a certain span of time has been allotted to the spectator to observe it. He and she move, and must move - move on. And, depending on the distance from where one's vehicle approaches such a work of art, the time is limited to the equation between the distance, speed and time span needed to bridge the gap. We wouldn't install an equestrian statue right next to a country road, let alone next to a motorway.
It is therefore an extra challenge for the artist to do something with, to utilize, this dimension of movement. Art which is observed from a moving vehicle necessitates the use of this extra feature. It must be incorporated in art in the road environment. This is what I have been intermittently studying during the course of my experiences in making site specific public art in various situations.
I will try to illustrate this on these pages.
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