Northala 2012: News
Wednesday 8 August
Well, all up, done and dusted, ropes re-tied, steel cables re-tightened, and work site cleared, dismantled and vanished. We were almost sad to leave. Strange to see just the towers, as if they'd come from nowhere. Before we disappear for a couple of weeks we must thank archaeologist Jon Cotton and Northala Fields designer Peter Fink for coming along last Friday to talk about Northala's history and Ealing's archaeology.
Here we are on top of the spiral hill on yet another fine and rainless evening. L to R Jon Cotton, Peter Fink, Red Earth's Simon Pascoe and Caitlin Easterby, with 2nd generation Red Earthers Harper and Orlando
Sunday 5 August
Last day and all three towers are up and occupied: families, scooters, kestrels and tags. We've had Red Earth weather and the rain and mud, slippery slopes and days of wind and rain were nowhere to be seen. Up on the hills open skies and scurrying clouds, sun and shadow and the constancy of swifts and our solitary kestrel have fixed these breezy heights in our memories. Now for the 24th. And we've already cut the firewood and the flagpoles, and Matt has made the xylophone and the bonang stand........
Friday 3 August
The third tower on Isolation Hill, built with the wind constantly around our heads. And a lot of rope. Thursday 2 August Work is one thing; the other is being here, in the park. We’ve become an event. By building our structures on site, constantly in the public eye, we are for a while a (rather unusual) part of the community.
The construction process has become one part of a larger social engagement between public and artists and is, of course, great publicity for the final event. Northala is a brilliant, well-used space and an amazingly cosmopolitan park. People are from everywhere.
First thing, if the sun’s shining, some older Nepalese couples meet for a chat. By lunch time families are out. From nowhere young kids hurtle by, daredevils on their sparking scooters. Geezers saunter past or have a laugh getting stuck on the muddy slopes.
Boxers, a guy training for the three-peak challenge, old people, young, very young climb up the hill to ask us ‘What are you making?’ And each day, as the towers grow, people are coming back to check it out. Great people. From everywhere. Northala is the centre of the world.
Wednesday 1 August
We’ve been on site in Northala Fields in Northolt, West London, for a week. Having cut the wood months ago - ash and willow from nearby Horsenden Hill - we are now climbing the second hill, up with the wind and the A40, and have finished the second tower.
Like the Magnificent Seven, the crew arrived one by one. As the park life flowered around us we built the bases for the first two towers, divided up the timber, worked out our method. The work process is very organic as pen and ink designs are inevitably challenged by the physical properties of the materials and aesthetics and structural logistics combine to give the towers their final form. A new identity is beginning to emerge: towers, gateways, elemental containers; the installation is beginning to write the final event. Monday 30 July: 13.00 We begin to install the main structures for the Northala project.
Monday 30 July
The wood for the project arrives and we prepare for installation.