Can art save us from extinction? Studio Morison's new installation explores.

The Oak Project has launched its first artist commission, Silence – Alone in a World of Wounds, hosted at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP), by artists Heather and Ivan Morison from Studio Morison.

Responding to the question “Can art save us from extinction?”, the artists have developed a sculptural space made of natural materials including timber and thatch that acts as an extended open pavilion and becomes a framework and quiet space set within nature. Silence – Alone in a World of Wounds has been installed alongside Upper Lake at YSP within a stand of birch trees and aims to create solitary communion with the natural world.

Informed by research evidence from the Nature Connectedness Research Group at the University of Derby, the work will be a circle, set within nature and a place for silence – a space where the artists ask that speech is not permitted – creating an area of calm contemplation.

Silence – Alone in a World of Wounds invites visitors to stop and connect, to consider and experience and to listen to their natural surroundings. Over time, the work will become part of the landscape as the natural weather contributes to its decomposition, leaving only a slight indent and trace of a ring in the ground in years to come. The sculpture has been constructed using materials sourced from within the West Bretton estate at YSP, and sustainably sourced timber from the artists’ own woodland.

This commission for the Oak Project embodies Studio Morison’s over 15-year practice to transcend the division between art and architecture and their mission of bringing meaning, beauty and purpose into everyday life, creating a synergy with the pathways to a new relationship with nature developed by the Nature Connectedness Research Group.

Speaking about the new commission, Heather Morison from Studio Morison said, “Our work for the Oak Project must open the viewers’ eyes to the natural world, wounds and all, and through the shared grief create action – turning towards the world for what it has to teach us. We propose a space that is a kind of education of attention, that offers a protracted introduction in seeing things, hearing and feeling them. This work is a gift of time and attention.”

Silence – Alone in a World of Wounds features a digital element developed with a group of young Manchester creatives who have created a moving image record of how light falls within the space and the natural world surrounding it. The moving image piece will capture the experience of being within the installation for visitors who may not be able to travel to YSP.

The Oak Project is a partnership between Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the University of Derby and the Bronze Oak Project Ltd, a not-for-profit that promotes art as a way to create nature connection. Over the next five years, the project will pioneer arts- participation to create kinship with nature.