Nature Centre
artist Jenny Brownrigg
year 1999-2000
language(s) English
location  BRITAIN, Grizedale and Lake District
region 1 North (North)
index no. 05.1.04
media Book
about the media Book on the 'Nature Centre’, in which Brownrigg investigated the way people perceive nature and landscape.
The Lake District
Work by Marcus Coates
about the project In 1999 Jenny Brownrigg stayed at Grizedale as artist-in-residence. For the immediate surroundings of Grizedale and the Lake District she founded a ‘Nature Centre’. Brownrigg wanted to investigate the way people perceive nature and landscape. It also interested her what they expect from the rural surroundings. Just before her stay at Grizedale, contemporary artworks had been placed in the landscape. For some this meant a violation of the landscape. The more interesting Brownrigg’s question became.
about artist and participants Brownrigg sought cooperation with several artists. Together with them she worked on various projects, but she also worked with people that visited the area and with inhabitants. These projects and Brownrigg’s research were written down in the book “Nature Centre”.
Gareth Butterworth owns Lakeland Safari Tours. Drawn by the name ‘safari’, which implies a tour that searches for wild animals, Brownrigg went along with the ‘Magic Moments’ Safari. It fascinated Brownrigg why Butterworth calls his tours ‘safaris’.
In an interview during the tour, partially written down in the book “Nature Centre”, Butterworth tells Brownrigg that most people that come to the Lake District, simply walk up to the lake, admire the view and drive back home. With his safaris Butterworth wants to give people a broader view, he wants them to really see and explore the area. This way they won’t act and feel like a tourist – they’re almost on an expedition. The fact that Butterworth has to organize safaris to make people experience nature, shows that many people only admire nature from a distance, as if it is a romantic postcard.
The interview with Butterworth gives an account of Brownrigg’s experiences while staying at Grizedale. One of her main activities, however, was an intensive collaboration with six primary schools in the area. The purpose of these projects was to give insight into the contemporary artworks that had recently been placed in the surrounding nature. For one of the projects the children studied an artwork by Marcus Coates – a picture on a billboard, showing a naked man with an animal mask on his head. The children wondered which steps you have to take as a human being to transform into an animal: how do you have to act if you want to look like a bear, a deer, a snake or a bird?