Reviews and comment from the Demon Crew - creative writers at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Simon English tells a story

Imagine Dumbledore as a young man, if you consider magic as an art form.

This was my first thought when introduced to Simon English, the creator of the England Revisited project.

In 1971, as an art student in Leeds, Simon English had the idea to write “Earth” on the Earth with the most northern point in North America, inspired by a love of ordnance survey maps and cameras on weather-balloons.

As a prelude to this, he literally wrote “England” across the English landscape. Using an improbably combination of maths and geography, he mapped out the 75 points that would spell “England” and visited these points, leaving small English flags and a notice that explained why the flag was there, and his details if anyone wanted to contact him. People did contact him and told him the stories of what happened to his flags over the course of 40 years.

In 2010, Simon English revisited these 75 points. Some of the changes he encountered were drastic: one flag was in a quiet country lane in 1971; now it's in a housing estate in Milton Keynes.

This project was like a time sculpture, tracking the changes across the country. It's about the stories and the people surrounding the stories: place, time and change against a backdrop of past and present

Michelle Rose

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