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WASTE/LAND/PROCESS
BRUCE DAVIES
ART + LANDSCAPE AT HOLTON HEATH

MARCH/APRIL 2011

This archive of images is a record of the work created at Holton Heath as part of a Arts Council England residency in conjunction with Holton Lee. Holton Lee is a contemporary arts organisation set amongst a unique 350 acre coastal Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Dorset, UK. This area is of habitats which include heathland, salt marsh, reed bed, , woodland and farmland. The larger part of the site is managed and protected as an SSSI. Lee is situated within the wider Poole Harbour SSSI which is one of the largest natural harbours in the world. The Harbour is internationally renowned for its fringe habitats of heathland, grassland (of which Holton Lee forms part of) and islands that provide habitats for rare and endangered flora and fauna. Heath land has developed as a distinct habitat through human intervention as a place for extensive grazing and fuel. For the management of heathland traditional techniques such as cutting, burning and grazing of vegetation are employed to prevent it from turning into scrub land. Partly through neglect, but also from urban sprawl, over grazing and intensified farming practices it has become a habitat under threat. No longer of economical use in agricultural terms it is Increasingly valuable in terms of nature conservation and public access, though culturally we have little or no use for the resources harvested from it. Sustainability became an important element and point of discussion in this project, particularly in attempting to find an end use for the material created by the heaths management and to highlight its potential as a useful resource once again. At the time of my arrival I set out to develop a project that responded to the management processes used in heath land restoration already occurring on the heath land site. The use of the heath for the presentation of new work connects to my interest in how we can draw out a visual conversation about how we have used the landscape in the past and how we use it today. In previous work heath land has become a place that I have used to explore how we engage with it and ask what is an appropriate use of landscape and what do we expect from it?

A stack of furze can present a fire risk to the heath and danger for the people who visit it. After it is cut it is normally burnt safely on site in a controlled manner. As such the installations constructed on the heath are designed to have a limited time span leaving only photographic records and memories behind. The timing of the eventual destruction of the works by fire – in keeping with the traditional process used in controlling heathland - will be determined by the management plan for the zone in which they have been built.


Bruce Davies, May 2011.

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