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In The Open | Filippa Dobson & Clare Charnley

The First Cut 2016 is a film documenting a land art response to the devastation caused by wild fire to heather moorland on Ilkley Moor. The heather took ten years to grow back, had never been cut before and was now scheduled for cutting. As a mutual exchange with nature, cutting the heather at different heights creates a more diverse environment for ground nesting birds. Cutting a cup and ring mark in the heather represents a scar or “intrusion” of nature by transposing the mark from a Neolithic monument nearby. Designed to foster personal encounter, The First Cut needs people (human and non-human) to walk into it. By walking around the circles and into the centre, you might be lucky enough to enter a “pocket of timelessness” (Robert Smithson, 1968): a sanctuary for the hare and symbol of regeneration by fire.

But you will have to find it first.

Filippa Dobson weaves together print, performance and prose and expresses movement as land art. Her 2016 land art piece The First Cut was the first partnership between Ilkley Arts and the Ilkley Literature Festival. As a collaboration between the artist, a film-maker and a game-keeper, The First Cut represents a community art project that links contemporary workers and walkers with their prehistoric ancestors. She was shortlisted for the “neo:art prize” in 2015 and is a PhD Candidate in the School of Design, University of Leeds.

Clare Charnley is curious to see what happens as objects and ideas move between people and cultures. She does so by including herself in the process. Sometimes she employs live art for its immediacy. She also makes simple performances to camera. She has an attraction to things and often uses objects to trigger conversations with strangers.

Simon Nelson is the head game-keeper with the Bingley Moor Partnership, Ilkley Moor.