The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is situated in Stratford, east London. Within the park sits Newton's Cottage, a structure built to commemorate the former lock keeper’s cottage. It sits on a canal, between a pair of gates known as ‘locks’. There are many canals in the UK. These were used as a primary mode of transportation form the industrial revolution onwards. Horses were used to tow the boats along the canals, and lock keepers were responsible for working the locks. Canal boats carried many different types of cargo, including coal, fuel, weapons and other resources. Despite their success as a means of transportation, canals were gradually abandoned as road and rail travel became more efficient. Our project took place within Newton’s Cottage as an interactive public event. Our brief was how best to tell the story of the canals to park visitors.
Moira Lascelles | Curator
Arif Wahid | Interior Architecture
Hannah Rogers | Landscape design
Nele Vos | Design strategy, Graphic design
Pei-Hsin Chen | Exhibition design
CREATIVE "GARDEN", Takayuki Ishii |
Yaqi Zhang | Digital entertainment design
Des Pawson | Rope maker
Liz Pawson | Rope maker
Participants can figure out what craftsmanship is by making a rope with experts.
There are many sorts of experts in canal life, whether cottage builder, lock keeper, boat horse driver, boat builder, boat painter or rope maker. Rope plays a major role in all of these and is an accessible medium for our event.
ROPE MAKING WORKSHOP
A MASSIVE HORSE INSTALLATION
The participants decorate a big horse with ropes they have made. It makes them interpret how the horse relates to the rope. We talked to audiences and we had an information board about canal history beside the horse.
HUMAN ANIMAL MACHINE referred to the concept that when people are with horses towing a boat by a rope, they become a powerful machine. The horse is the engine. We made our horse from wire mesh because it is a MACHINE.
Boat painting is a key factor in canal history. We needed to mention that in the event too because it is integral to the identity of each boat: boat paint design stood out. Visitors to the park could recognise it was about the canal. The event title also worked very well to attract attention.
This title and visual gave a big impact to visitors. Some of them stopped walking at the front of the signage and gave it a second glance. The title proved to be highly effective. The flyer is able to cut off to a boat shape. The design especially attracted kids.
The aim of this event was to give a huge impact to kids. In future, they may be able to reclaim a big horse, rope and cottage from fragments of their memory. It could be a starting point for them to look into the history of the canals. If we had done a pre-event for adults to understand the story of the canals, they might have had a better connection and considered the history more deeply.