Film charts a pandemic year in Waterlow Park

A still from Marvell Park by Richard Layzell

A still from Marvell Park by Richard Layzell - Credit: Courtesy of Lux

A 'creative ecologist' has made a film tracking Waterlow Park during the pandemic.

Made as part of his artist's residency, Richard Layzell's 23 minute Marvell Park is a "playful and personal meditation" on 2020 and references the days when the open space was part of poet Andrew Marvell's 17th Century garden.

The visual artist conceived the project when lockdown prevented him from running live events.

"As artist in residence I got to know the park really well and staged a popular event in February 2020," he says. 

"It was a night walk. We had disco lights in the aviary and explored various trees using lights. I was planning another daytime walk with Lauderdale House and live events over the spring and summer. When I couldn't do them I re-engaged with making films as a way of giving back and making a connection."


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During the first lockdown he wrote and performed a film charting the walk from his Crouch Hill home to Waterlow Park.

"This new film is about exploring movement in different places through the cycle of the seasons. It's about interacting with nature and the space of the park and behaving in unusual ways. It traces the year from first lockdown to the autumn which was a difficult time for me personally as we knew we were entering another lockdown."

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Layzell who trained at The Slade and University of the Arts, dreams of re-naming the open space Marvell Park.

"Some of his poetry was about gardens. The name Marvell has uplifting connotations. It's a wish I can put out there."

He adds: "One of the big surprises about Waterlow is who actually owns it. It's looked after by Camden but it's a public piece of land in trust from Sir Sydney Waterlow. I was interested in how that might show itself in people's behaviour when you are in a public place. It means you can move in a free way and feel a sense of ownership."

Marvell Park can be seen via the Lux website lux.org.uk

Marvell Park can be seen via the Lux website lux.org.uk - Credit: Richard Layzell

Marvell Park is commissioned and exhibited by Lux, an organisation based in Waterlow Park which promotes artist's film and video work. It holds the archive of the London Filmmakers Co-operative based in Camden Town in the 1960s, and Soho's London Video Art.

Marvell Park is part of Layzell's wider project The Naming which challenges how we distance ourselves from the natural world through categorization.

"How things are named can affect how we feel see and treat them. For example there's an Australian bird with a beautiful song but an unromantic name of the Pied Butcherbird, or our own English blackbird with a nondescript name but a very beautiful song."

Marvell Park is available to watch for free until July 1 at https://lux.org.uk/online-exhibition/marvell-park-richard-layzell-2021

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