East England 2003 – PROPOSAL
The East England project meets the guidelines of an ideas competition initiated by the new region East England.
As many other countries East England has gone through structural changes. Many small municipalities merged and became larger regions. The competition asked for affinity and coherence within the new circumstances. Our solution was to construct a mythological magic fiction in order to provide common affinity for the inhabitants.
All the elements we elements we connected to this constructed myth about an ancient population called Draugemits (Palindrome for timeguard) who lived in East England ever since Great Britain, according to the mythology, was little, and only existed of the area of East England.
In the old days the eastern part of New England was inhabited by a huge amount of fairy folks, and they had a lot of communication holes. These hols had to be very close to each other because their communication form was not that developed then. Nowadays their ways of contact are highly developed so they do not need as many holes. There are approximately 120 holes to be found in the soft and hilly landscape of east of England. Most of them can be visited by people, because even though very few people have actually seen any fairy folks, they have a great hospitality when it comes to their communication system. How they actually live, only myths and rumours can tell.
The landmark east international ideas competition initiated by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) was asking for a visionary idea for a landmark – a sustainable icon representing the region to the rest of the world able to attract significant funding, and inspire a sense of pride and unity in the region which comprises Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Herdfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Research commissioned by the EEDA found that there was a lack of identity or sense of belonging – nothing anchoring people as a whole.
As it is such a desparate region, it may be that a series of landmarks disseminated in different parts of the region can achieve this more effectively as one. Our focus was to device the conditions for the establishments for a commun identity and sense of belonging. We therefore imagined that a fairy tale to be shared through the regions could be a powerful tool. The fairy tale of the “communication holes” becomes a cultural consensus to be physically spread in the local landscape as “traces of a human past”. Those traces need to be actively (re)discovered and reinterpreted through family walks in the country side and accidental rediscoveries. They impact our consciousness of the “genis loci” getting spread through the six regions. As years will past, a nostalgic bond connected to the network of holes will appeal. They may be called identity.
Design and concept: Hanne-Louise Johannesen and Michel Guglielmi (Diffus Design)