CUT/STACK/BURN – A prickly kind of heat adds to climate change debate
Visual Artist Bruce Davies is to build a public sculpture out of furze at the sub-tropical Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Penzance…and then set fire to it! He will be gathering the furze during February and constructing a large installation with it over a 3 week period in March.
The culmination of the project, entitled CUT/STACK/BURN, coincides with the start of British summer time and is a specific reference to our relationship to energy use. On the 24th of March the sculpture will be burnt at a public event, not as a domestic fuel as furze traditionally was, but as a frivolous action that reflects on our attitude to energy consumption and finite natural resources.
Bruce, who is funded by Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts programme, has developed this project in collaboration with the National Trust as part of his year long artist residency based on the Lizard and Penrose estate Helston. CUT/STACK/BURN is motivated by the cultural history of lowland heaths and the working processes that occur there. The project focuses on using sustainably resourced natural waste products from heath land management on the Lizard and Penwith to develop a visual work about the large scale absences of such approaches in the management of land and natural resources.
In February the furze will be cut and stacked into ricks at various rural locations for drying and then removed at a later date to be built into a large sculpture at Tremenheere. The harvesting of the material is a collaborative effort between the artist, landowners, conservation groups and local communities. In March, school children and volunteers will be working as a team with Bruce as lead artist to help bind and shape the furze into to the main sculpture.
“Furze cutting used to be part of a traditional sustainable cycle of land use; it was a major source of fuel in Cornwall and else where,’ says Bruce. ‘I am using this as an example of good practice in contrast to how we produce and use energy today. We haven’t had to go out to cut and collect gorse on a wind blasted heath to power our ipods, washing machines or whatever. If we did, rather than press buttons, perhaps we might be more thoughtful about how we use energy. In a symbolically frivolous act, after months of laborious cutting, stacking and building I am going to burn the furze sculpture to the ground.’
Project outline:CUT/STACK/BURN is a performative re-enactment of a redundant rural activity - furze cutting for domestic fuel (or gorse outside of cornwall). The project uses art installation as a platform to develop a visual conversation about the implications and absence of sustainable approaches in the management of land and its resources. Our current use of energy in an age of climate change becomes a focal point and pivotal issue in this visual debate.