2003–2005

‘We still tend to think of “public art” as something involving statues in city squares – so when the opportunity to write some poems for the BBC White City site presented itself, it came as an exciting and liberating challenge. My own words, and those to be provided by other, local writers, have been evolved in close consultation with the designer John Morgan. Like me, John wanted to evoke ideas, and use materials, which were at once surprising and sympathetic to their immediate environment. The first finished piece for instance is a series of rhymed couplets on the theme of communication, which appears on the main walkway, with the words set in dark cobbles against a back-ground of lighter-coloured stones. Appropriately enough, the effect recalls a volume-indicator on a transmitting device. The ideas we are developing with local writers will manifest the same spirit of adventure – and will also seek to make words a vital part of the site’s personality. Which is just what they will be.’ (Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate, February 2004)

‘This is your ground’, 2003: public art collaboration with Poet Laureate Andrew Motion. Here was an opportunity for a piece of lettering conceived at the commencement of building as an intrinsic and integral part of the architecture and landscape. It is in effect a mosaic, where the letters and surface are on the same plane. The scale is such that it appears as if the landscape has begun to speak for itself. Letterforms are created using a variation in stone colour, with 90mm square silver granite setts in place replaced with darker granite. All five couplets of the walkway poem when translated into a binary system fit into one panel. Zeros and ones become silver and grey granite stones, creating a mathematical basis for a geometrical design.

‘Behind the glass’, 2004: a visual solution to a one-day writing workshop held by author Vivian French. Texts were applied by children and parents onto glass using stencils and brushes.

‘Voices of White City’, 2005: ‘Made up of 10,000 stickers, each one bearing an individual poem, and extending to more than 100 metres, the artwork is located on a wooden hoarding at the BBC Media Village at White City in London. The individual poem stickers combine to spell out large, human-size words, which in turn join together to make the phrase “Voices of White City”. Passers-by will be invited to peel off any poem and reattach it somewhere else. A collaboration between BBC staff and community participants from the White City estate and other parts of Hammersmith and Fulham.’ (BBC press release)