PECT GREEN FESTIVAL 2016 – FEATURED ARTIST: JAMES TOVEY
Seven artists have been commissioned to transform Peterborough city centre into a showcase for environmental art at this year’s PECT Green Festival, which returns with a Launch Day on Saturday 13th August and Fringe Events through till 21st August.
From a three-metre long papier-mâché stag beetle to an origami boat-walking trail, the artworks promise to spark debate about sustainable living and encourage residents to take positive action for the local and global environment.
Organised by the charity Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT), the Festival brings together community groups, charities and businesses in an annual celebration of ‘green’ initiatives in the city. The Festival aims to encourage local people to live sustainably and develop long-term behaviour change, by exploring themes such as sustainable transport, recycling, local and sustainable food and biodiversity.
For the second year running PECT have commissioned artists to support and create new artwork specifically for the festival. They will exhibit their works and run interactive activities at the 2016 event.
In lead up to the Peterborough Green Festival Idea1 will release an interview with each of the 7 artists. A chance to get a taster of what to expect at this years Green Fest and get to know the artists. Introducing our final Green Festival artist, James Tovey.
Artist: James Tovey
Art Work: Future Floodlands
Combining live theatre, poetry, light projections and sculpture, James Tovey’s immersive artwork will explore the possibility of a future Peterborough submerged under water. The work will draw on the artist’s personal interest in environmental issues, land art and especially boats – Tovey runs a company specializing in traditional boatbuilding. Pieces will be written and performed by local school children, playwrights and poets in the city centre, in conjunction with Eastern Angles.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
James Tovey, my main interests are found in boats and making art.
Could you describe your art practice?
I need to know that my painting, drawing, sculpture or digital sketch is connected to an emotion, sentiment or concept that stems from within us and our relationship to the wider world at the same time I am always thinking about what we are doing and where we are going. I am not afraid of creating a vision of a altered or theoretical landscape if it helps push in the right direction and helps show where we don’t want to go.
What will you be creating as part of your Green Festival Commission?
A stage with props and backdrop for theatre and poetry performances all concerned with and about a flooded Peterborough.
How can the public get involved with your artwork?
Visitors to the Future Floodlands stage can walk through the set, climb in the boats, explore the submersion chamber and interact with some of the props as well as hear the performances.
What is your art piece about? How does it tie in with the themes of Green Festival?
Essentially the Floodlands Stage is asking ‘what if’ and explores some of the outcomes. Boat use is already a part of the life of the River Nene but climate change and the predictions of what this will mean for the East coast of England and particularly the regions of the drained fenlands and lands surrounding the Wash may radically change our present relationship with water, transport and the economy the land can support. The Future Floodlands theme may raise some recognition of this potential phenomenon and in a small way offer some solace. It could help illicit encouragement to adaption and alternative options for sustainable use and management of the environment, rather than looking at the possibility of a great flood in terms of apocalyptical disaster.
What has been your favourite part about this commission?
Being able to develop the concept and parts with so many people and organizations such as PECT, Eastern Angles Theatre Company and Peterborough Cathedral. Seeing the writers, artists and performers engage and involve themselves with the same concerns that I have been thinking about while producing a group creation of a Floodland Theatre.
Are there any specific ways that you would like the public to interact with your piece?
Come and see it submerge yourselves in the themes and take to the stage to feel where we as a collective civilization might be heading if we carry on with the unrelenting environmental, industrial and consumerist onslaught.
Do you think it is important that art is integrated into The Green Festival and what benefit do you think it has?
Art is about who we are, where we come from and where we are going. Most artists have looked to nature as an integral part of their own work. It seems impossible to imagine that there would not be an arts element to a Green festival. Particularly one promoting positivity in action and sustainability.
When and where can we see your piece at Green Festival?
In front of Peterborough Cathedral, 10am – 5.15pm on the Green Festival Launch day, 13th August 2016.