SMOKE AND MIRRORS
Viewing the past from Today’s perspective.
This is a shortlisted proposal for a Contemporary Interpretive Folly in response to an Open Call to provide an intervention exploring the stories and history of a Heritage Site.
The history of the site was built on rivalry, the profits of fossil fuel extraction from Yorkshire coal and a monopoly on the Atlantic slave trade. From today’s perspective this presents a negative image of exploitation, however this raises questions over our changing perceptions of historical facts, what was once deemed beneficial is viewed as detrimental in subsequent eras.
The Inter-familial rivalry of cousins was made manifest in two neighbouring buildings (and their environs), a measure of wealth, power, money.
A large curved mirror (polished stainless steel) is placed on axis with the primary Palladian elevation at Wentworth Woodhouse which boasts the longest elevation of any country house in England. Through careful calculation and computer testing our ‘lens’ reduces the width of this grand elevation to appear smaller than that of its rival Wentworth Castle. A measurement marker set in the ground references the comparitive length of the latter. To add to the illusion, a coal line with all of its links and associations between the sites, houses a simple evaporative water spray mist which produces a veil through which the distorted and reduced facade is viewed.