Beginning the Process – Earthed

Q: Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Mick Petts and I’m a Landscape Sculptor – I sculpt the land.

Q. Who else is taking part in your process and what do they each bring?

I’m working with David Lane, playwright and dramaturg alongside Rachel Aspinwall, Artistic Director of Part Exchange Co. David brings a wealth of knowledge of how to structure ideas, how to stretch people within the creative process and how to hone and distill those ideas – to make a body of words from the word bones.

Rachel brings a can-do, will-do, make-it-happen force of energy and enthusiasm, to drive forward the concepts that she believes in. This commitment and energy has been won from a diverse background in animating performance within unusual spaces.

Q. What do you think you’ll be doing over the given time and how might you be working together?

Rubbing shoulders, exchanging thoughts, processes, ideas, images and information and a lot of nattering hopefully with good coffee to hand. The process is exploratory – listening to talk, pen to paper, pencil to drawing, boots to the ground, image into camera, finger to keyboard. The process is about discovery – looking for themes, connections and physical sites which have potential for telling a story, where people can engage directly with the work, be it in a temporary or permanent format, trying to build in physical engagement and performance opportunities within the development process and any resulting work.

The term ‘EARTHED’ is about re-establishing contact with the ground beneath our feet, seeing it as a medium to work with and getting our collective hands dirty…

Q. Where do you hope the process might take you individually and collectively?

Individually 1 x 1 x 1 = 1.

I can answer ‘I don’t really fully know’ to both parts of the question – and that is what’s exciting. Usually I’m given a set brief and I work in a reactive mode trying to match the aspirations of a set project with what I can dig and delve for in the layers of the physical and social landscape.

‘Earthed’ is a proactive project with so many possibilities – a chance to develop our collective brief for a multi-layered project opening up possibilities for audience engagement in new ways. Who knows what catalytic cross-discipline material might evolve? We’ve been absorbing each other’s language, processes and thoughts, the hybridising is about to begin… Hopefully by the end of the process we’ll all be listening, speaking and looking in a different ways.

Collectively 3 x 3 x 3 = 27 not nine.

Q. Why does it feel important to make this work now?

There is currently a bit of a national backlash against all things ‘green’, and I think this is partly due to our current economic situation and green issues being an easy target to point the finger at or wield the axe. Fortunately for Bristol the Green Capital 2015 initiative will hopefully breathe some much needed life back into the debate.

The ‘EARTHED’ project is important because without experimentation nothing is learnt. We’re looking to create a three-dimensional project interacting with the time of the seasons, touching all of the senses, breathing new language and memory into those that come to engage with and view the work into the future, to leave a physical as well as a mindful legacy – hopefully to encourage further experimentation elsewhere.