hill33

David Cotterrell began his research in the Forest of Dean in 2009, having just returned from living at Camp Bastion as a war artist. His practice is often research-based and he is Professor of Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University. The camp is surrounded and protected by HESCO Concertainer units (a form of gabion structure) and their industrial presence echoed in his thoughts as he met people in the Dean. Here he heard stories of how Nelson commanded the oaks to be planted; how the remnants of war had been put down redundant mine shafts; and how freemining rights are a legacy of service during conflict. These thoughts informed his research for this significant new sculpture.

“David is an installation artist working across varied media including video, audio, interactive media, artificial intelligence, device control and hybrid technology. His work exhibits political, social and behavioural analyses of the environments and contexts, which he and his work inhabit.” Most recently, after two years of negotiations between the Wellcome Trust, Imperial War Museum and Ministry of Defence, he was invited to observe the Joint Forces Medical Group at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The outcome was a body of photographic and video work, reflecting upon the time lost between injury on the front-line and the awakening of the patient some hours later in a UK hospital. Earlier works include creating the Saltley Geyser – an inexplicable ‘geyser’ in the middle of a Birmingham suburb – which from May to August daily shot 500 litres of water in a column 30 metres high, drawing people out from their houses to meet and share the experience.

Cotterrell is intrigued by the ex-industrial landscape of the forest, seeing it as “one of choreographed and manipulated tranquillity and contemplation.” Cotterrell said upon appointment: “I would like to investigate construction techniques, which could provide a structural addition designed to be readily appropriated by the forest environment and a platform to consider the contradictions between human manipulation of landscape and the natural passage of time.”

David began his research in the Forest of Dean in 2009, having just returned from living at Camp Bastion as a war artist. The camp is surrounded and protected by HESCO Concertainer units (a form of gabion structure) and their industrial presence echoed in his thoughts as he met people in the Dean. Here he heard stories of how Nelson commanded the oaks to be planted; how the remnants of war had been put down redundant mine shafts; and how freemining rights are a legacy of service during conflict. These thoughts informed his research for this significant new sculpture.

Hill33 is the outcome of that research and will be a challenging and intriguing addition to the works on the Trail.

We are very grateful for the funding and support of the following organisations, without whom this project could not happen.

-THE FORESTRY COMMISSION
-GLOUCESTERSHIRE ENVIRONMENT TRUST
-HESCO
-THE ROYAL MONMOUTHSHIRE ROYAL ENGINEERS
-FOREST OF DEAN DISTRICT COUNCIL
-ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND
-CORY ENVIRONMENTAL

And thanks to all local suppliers who have supported our project: Maddocks, Bowens, Jewsons, Gavellers Cafe, Speech House Hotel & InSite Accommodation