just found out about this http://whowantstobe.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/democracy_bench_commision.pdf so thought that i would send something in.
Hi my name is Les – I’m an artist who makes stuff and who works with people. I was really drawn to your particular experience of democracy – it sounds like it was a good night out mixed with radical thinking.
When I make things I am interested in my role as somebody in the middle – often working for and with several opposing sides – but at the core I’m trying to solve problems creatively.
Your proposal has thrown up a lot of questions in my household – what does democracy look like? What does democracy feel like? Should the bench illustrate or enable democracy? What shape is democracy?
I have made a few benches for different types of places and experiences. Like the 26 benches for a footpath in Norfolk each with a text that is specifically written in response to where it is. The words on each bench can be read individually or all benches can be read as a whole – they allow for a moment – a pause to reflect in our busy world.
The benches I made for a new supermarket in Diss, a town in East Anglia, take their forms from the shape of buildings previously on the site. They have equations cut into them, which were generated from conversations with the people of Diss. With each viewing their meaning can change.
Another example are the seating/benches for Norwich with the names of long forgotten buildings and people cut into steel which is wrapped around wooden blocks – reminiscent of bales of goods arriving on the river and taken off boats.
The bench needs to make one thoughtful – maybe a single word or sentence cut into the stone – or opposing shapes or symbols which would make up a third idea or form – the idea of one voice becoming strong by joining another. Or how about 50 words that are submitted and voted on by the audience, which are then developed into equations which are then cut into stone.
I am taken that the gardens you have chosen have so many influences and cultural references – the text could reference this through the use of different typefaces or use the languages of audience members.
I would want to make the bench very solid – unmovable – as if it had been there forever. I would use granite blocks saved from the old County Hall Greater London Council G.L.C. building. A stone mason I work with has in his field – a nice cyclical, symbolic experience that might be reflected in the possible shape of the proposed bench – a circle maybe but this could be voted on.
Not sure if you want a particular idea to vote on or to be part of an ongoing discussion – but I guess that i'm proposing blocks of granite recycled from the old G.L.C. cut into the shape of democracy with words chosen by yourselves cut into it.