'I always imagined Eternity
would look like Milton Keynes'
Eternity City is a multi channel & multi material installation by Sapphire Goss, mapped onto the city itself. It debuted in Milton Keynes in 2018, commissioned by Tracing the Pathway and supported by Arts Council England.
This ambitious project also comprised a two month residency at Milton Keynes Arts Centre including public workshops and events for adults & children, and was part of the Groundwork Festival curated by Tracing the Pathway.
Sapphire has captured footage of the patterns, textures and shapes of the city, and created ‘living slides’ from flora and fauna gathered in the city’s edgelands. She then created giant versions of these slides using the windows of the iconic modernist building of the Old Bus Station in Milton Keynes to make screens with leaves, branches, grasses and brambles pressed into them. As the sun goes down the film is revealed: the footage projected directly on to the live plants that decay throughout the duration of the installation.
The film is built up of multi-layered loops perpetually shifting, evolving and growing. It is accompanied by an original soundtrack composed by musician Rob Shields, using manipulated sounds of cars and nature recorded in the city.
Collage techniques are used to capture the urban environment as a palimpsest of family history, personal memories and lost utopian futures. The piece is concerned with a wider shared experience of cities: stories and memories are threaded together to make the ordinary uncanny.
The work was conceived during an intense period of research and experimental practice as part of a residency with Tracing the Pathway at Milton Keynes Arts Centre in 2017. It was then developed at open workshops for adults and children in summer 2018, premiering at Groundwork’s Weekender in September in Milton Keynes. It will tour to further cities, being reimagined with new footage and new flora unique to each location.
Eternity City was commissioned by Tracing the Pathway as part of their wider project Groundwork, a cross-arts platform and research project about Milton Keynes. The project has been further supported by Arts Council England and the Journal of Cultural Economy.
Sapphire Goss (2018) images of Eternity City during the daytime, and artist talks at the location.
Mixed media & projections.
Presented at The Old Bus Station, Milton Keynes
The Groundwork Weekender (2018) curated by Tracing the Pathway.
Image Credit: Rosie Powell
More About Groundwork.
Groundwork is a performance and research project about Milton Keynes by Tracing the Pathway. Since Groundwork's inception in 2015 it has operated as an umbrella project title for a variety of activities including residencies, talks, workshops, parties and dinners.
In May 2015 and 2017 Tracing the Pathway asked artists to take up residence in Milton Keynes. Each artist spent 10 days engaging in creative methods to discover and champion connections between the place, people, heritage, geography and history of the city. During this initial research period the artists were inspired to celebrate diverse aspects of Milton Keynes’ cultural, geophysical, and architectural identity, ending their stays by presenting tailor-made project ideas.
Between March and September 2018 these artists took time to create one of their research ideas as part of a festival of unique artworks and socially-engaged community projects specifically for the city.
The project was developed by artist collective Tracing the Pathway in partnership with Milton Keynes Arts Centre, with support by funding from Milton Keynes Community Foundation and Arts Council England.