zero-degree machine

[2018] Evolving Perimeter

Evolving Perimeter is a collaborative proposal between architects zero-degree machine, artist Alan Butler; and curator Cleo Fagan on the engagement programme.

Inspired by the diverse array of townlands, villages and parishes that make up Fingal, we have been researching ways to re-examine traditional notions of the boundary. This research raised the question: How can one mark a perimeter, without putting up a physical or conceptual wall?

We have decided to conceive of a functional, sculptural landmark which would encourage real-world interaction between residents of Fingal.This proposal outlines a production modality for a sculptural utility that would be installed at the intersection of two or more places in Fingal. For instance, at a geographical location where Malahide meets Swords. If possible, we would like to identify a suitable location at a nexus of multiple townlands, e.g. where Rush, Lusk and Holmpatrick come together.

The Structure:
The siting of this artwork is central to its concept, with it we offer to subvert the traditional idea of the perimeter, and to develop a structure which aims to dissolve the language of exclusion associated with borders. The sculpture will be inspired by ordinary and recognisable civic infrastructure, such as bus-shelters, bandstands, and benches. Modest utilities where people come together and meet in public. The structure will combine the symbolic aspects of cooperation, while providing a real place to interact.

The Function:
Inspired by our conversations with growers at Fingal allotments, we identified a desire for outdoor covered public meeting spaces. The sculpture aims to adopt a utopian strategy for getting people to interact in a society that is becoming increasingly atomised. While the bus-shelter is a familiar concept, we wish to revisit the function in a way that reimagines this idea in a more multi-purpose framework. The function will provide a place for citizens to meet, shelter from the rain, tell stories, or to create.

The Form:
The formal qualities of the sculpture itself will celebrate multicultural and horticultural Fingal.The surface designs and structural characteristics of this artwork will be informed through the activity of virtual botany. This idea stems from Alan’s practice that explores fictional plant life through traditional, digital and sculptural artworks. In this case, a selection of flora that are native to the many international birthplaces of Fingal residents, will be used to inspire hybrid plants forms. It is these forms that will make up the design and structural components of the sculpture.

Engagement Programme
The Evolving Perimeter engagement programme seeks to connect the wider community with the work; in creative, enquiring and celebratory contexts. The focus is primarily on schools but does include the adult population also. The exploration of related themes such as nationalism and identity, interconnectedness, international public art, ecology, foraging and food, are employed as intellectually and creatively -stimulating departure points for accessing the work.