Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The Boulder

On Thursday 14th August, Shoreditch Park saw the unveiling of The Boulder - 100 tonnes of solid granite - the latest addition to Hackney's artistic landscape.

The Boulder is an ambitious public realm sculpture project by artist John Frankland and marks the completion of the second phase of the regeneration of our own Shoreditch Park.

John Frankland decided to leave the rocks as they were found in the quarry, bearing the marks of the explosion that blasted them from the rock face. He intended that people should engage with the boulder in a direct and physical way through rock climbing, or ‘bouldering’. A keen and expereinced climber himself, Frankland considers physical contact with the rock as a way of energising or activating the work, as well as a way of playfully debunking the notion of those sculptures in park settings, which are often fenced off or prominently labelled as ‘not to be touched’.

During the Shoreditch Festival, from August 16th and 24th, climbing competitions and taster sessions have been organised by the Shoreditch Trust. Afterwards, these sessions will be followed by free climbing classes for local young people into the autumn.

Photographer and filmmaker Chris Dorley-Brown worked with John Frankland to record the epic feat of lifting, transporting and installing the boulder. The film also captures the reactions and views of the communities where the boulder was placed, and how their double function as objects to be climbed has been taken up by both amateur and experienced climbers. This will be shown at Peer’s gallery on Hoxton Street from Wednesday 3rd September to 11 October.

The project received a generous grant from Deutsche Bank’s Art and Regenertation Scheme, and further support from Hackney Council’s Recreation and Environment Action Plan.