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FOLLY
                       

Collaboration with Anne Eggebert at Valentine's Mansion, September to October 2009.

Through research into the histories of Valentine’s Mansion in Ilford, Essex, (currently undergoing an HLF restoration programme), we discovered remnants of Venetian landscape vignettes in vintage wallpaper, circa 1950, on the walls of the former servants quarters on the upper floors of the house. Affording views over the semi-landscaped surrounds, this curious depiction of an idyllic romantic life seems in direct contrast to the contemporary urban activities of today’s urban public within this very particular place.

Cole and Eggebert's interest lies in the peopling of these images and how their representation provides décor for the house; that the beginnings of the travel leisure industry in Europe were informed by popular home décor culture. They are developing a video work that seeks out the sites in Venice of the wallpaper’s drawn motifs alongside a series of photographs capturing a 21st century leisure pursuit, free running, around the mansion’s follies. Freerunner athletes test the historic landscape not as a view but as a multiplicity of surfaces to be physically encountered - the folly of a playful and foolhardy action that finds a use for the ‘useless extravagant structures’ of the historic landscape.  A play on space that finds an alternative trajectory through it as all elements encountered within the landscape become surface. 

Research into, and arising from, this art work was presented at the Living Landscapes conference in Aberystwyth in June 2009.

Cole and Eggebert also discussed this work (Folly - the Performing Body in the Travelling Leisure Landscape) at the Theatre Applications conference, Central School of Speech and Drama on 23rd April 2010.