In early Autumn 2013 I started going for extended circular walks as a way to improve my health. I began to notice unexpected and often monumental objects and structures such as a bright red distressed container deposited in a field near the M4 motorway and massive concrete ‘rocks’ blocking access to rural tracks.
I became interested in two trig points close to home on a section of the Ridgeway from Liddington Castle to Charlbury Hill. The pillars form boundaries to the area I am exploring in depth using a GPS device to record Ordnance Survey grid references and latitude and longitude data. Initially, I recorded the locations of the objects and structures but later changed the emphasis to tracking my progress through the countryside by noting the position from which I took each photograph. Digital photography and GPS technology have provided the means by which to record walks and to construct personal maps of the area.
Themes of military planning and intelligence, place, protection and communications underpin the project through issues such as the security offered to Iron Age people by the hill fort of Liddington Castle; the origins of the Ordnance Survey system during the turmoil of the late 18th century; the implementation of a field defence system of pillboxes in the Second World War; the installation of trig pillars during retriangulation of Great Britain in the 1960s and the introduction of the Global Positioning Satellite system originally designed for military and intelligence applications at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s. Contemporary communications are represented through the Fox Hill Telecoms Tower adjacent to the Ridgeway approximately half way between the two trig points.
Artists whose work has influenced my project include Richard Long, Ingrid Pollard, Jem Southam, Fay Godwin, Lou Spence, Andrea Morley and Richard Billingham.