Ordnance Survey, site specific- thoughts and a short discussion about time and space

A few days ago, I went up nearby Crouch Hill, in a high wind, and installed this work.



It brings together some of the ideas about the site:

 Past History 

  • as a beacon where signals were transmitted to Rainsborough Camp (an Iron-age hill fort near RAF Croughton mentioned in my Research Paper) and Arberry Hill * ,
  • stories about William Waller camping at its  base during the English Civil War,  
  • myths about its  Civil War role and the military significance of Trig points and  Ordnance Survey maps,
  • Pagan May morning rituals of horn blowing;

through to its role today as a site of contemporary ritual

  • a place for families to walk to,
  • a local daily dog- walking route
  • the site of teen campouts in the summer
  • local sledging venue,
  • A significant local landmark visible for several miles around

* the new housing estate close by has also been named Arbery Hill and of course that’s what comes up when Googled!! Lots of Taylor Wimpey homes. How ‘space’ and ‘history’ change….! and

*near Daventry, I thought but there is a nearer one not far from Croughton so that seems more likely.

The text used on the installation and some of the the maps are here, below:

Ordnance Survey

Crouch Hill

Crouch Hill 2 

Triangulation station

William Waller

William Waller 2

I used sections of OS maps from a range of editions over the last 30 years and variable grid sizes. I cut out sections where there was a military installation, whether Iron  Age or more recent.

They show a remarkable ‘evolution’ of the areas  ( how the military installations were represented on the maps over time ) and the overlay of the Battle site at Edge Hill and MOD Kineton and just how the military  presence has been so present in this such a central part of the country.

Not all the map sections are here. Just a selection.

Crouch Hill

Edgehill battle site 1970’s map

Edgehill Battle site with MOD Kineton 

Rainsborough camp and Croughton 1970’s map

Rainsborough Camp and Croughton – more recent map showing wireless station

I made a point of getting it completed and installing it on the 5th December as traditionally there is a 50 mile 24 hour hike called the Tour-de-Trigs in the area, and they  often use Crouch Hill, another ritual function. In fact in the past before the bushes grew I could see the beacon/ bonfire they built on the top to welcome the weary walkers, from my bedroom window. This walk has a ritual aspect to it for the participants, who are both local and come from farther afield…occasionally outside the UK. In fact it has almost a pilgrimage quality to it, if you listen to some of the participants stories, as it involves a high level of endurance for what is a ‘low-level’walk, and has an almost mystical quality.

There is short piece on the use of ‘ Trig Points’ –Triangulation stations on the Tour website and a document here which is only from Wiki. which describes their link with military mapping.

I decided not to reference this  in the work as I was thinking about the site as a space of action, historical and present, more temporal : geographical  and having links with the Ordnance and Mapping but other references besides. I didn’t want the military aspect to be the main focus, just part of the story. The Title directs us to these associations anyway. Further reference would hide the other;

FURTHER EDIT : In some ways  my  aim was to demonstrate what this paper Sebold as Rhizomatic Assemblage describes as Deleuze and Guattari’s assemblage

“a never-complete performative act of assemblage which brings together diverse genres, times and spaces in a network of intersecting lines: ‘a map, not a tracing’”

POST SCRIPT  I’m adding this section in January as I look back over the work,read Massey again and realise that I have fallen completely into the trap that she talks about.

Thinking more about Time than Space because of the interpretation of geographical space as a surface! Despite recognising simultaneity , this core concept is so unground that it is essential popping -up and overtaking my thoughts- more on the development of this work in a later post )

The Trig points are used as way markers by walkers, marking map reference points.It explains how they are becoming obsolete with the use of GPS ( a link with  global communications and simultaneity) But in many places the metal plate is being retained and becoming part of the‘ Heritage of the Hills’

I really like this phrase…it links with the ideas of memorialisation and Pierre Nora’s sites of memory’ explored in my research paper and how we like the idea of fixing place, which Doreen Massey talks about.

Crouch Hill  summit  and Trig Point being the  place where people stop and chat, have ‘a breather’ and let the dogs have a sociable play around.

Installing was actually quite difficult as I fixed the laminates on when I was on the hill to get the spacings right and it was so bloody windy.

I was Scoping the installation process too. 71  Live viewers in total. So the Global aspect of this exciting. I do not chat to the audience when Scoping and am usually alone so can’t respond to their questions...and at this stage want to just carry out my action with no interaction ….( a bit theatrical…distance between me and the audience despite our proximity via the broadcast. I’ve never thought about the pace of performance in the theatre…. another consideration.)

or see them as the saved video roll doesn’t save the chat (or the hearts which are sent when people like what you do!)

I solved the second issue  by re-filming the Replay which is available for 24 hrs after. I dd this on my camera from my Desktop and didn’t use a tripod as the weather was filthy and I couldn’t get to the studio to get it.

I got some wobbly documentation but saw some of the chat.

The list of viewers showed a multi-national audience from Russian and Turkish ( they are great periscope users), Spanish, ? American and some Middle Eastern although it is impossible to see where they are watching from.

This is just from the Script on the Scope summary.

 An update 

I installed on Saturday 5th December at lunchtime.

By Tuesday 8th someone had been and taken all the laminations!

They had not blown off in the wind as the keyring were also missing. Only the chain and padlock were there…….

A friend told me she’d  noticed this but I took these images much later, just before Christmas.

The weather has been filthy and climbing the hill to the top very slippery and precarious.



5 thoughts on “Ordnance Survey, site specific- thoughts and a short discussion about time and space”

    1. Thanks for the sympathy, Pete. You are kind.
      However, I just find it amusing and part of my working process.
      I often leave things in public places and then people interact however they will…
      I don’t mind… they are my audience and that is their ‘participation’ in the work.
      It is not meant as a ‘fixed piece’ , but as an intervention, carried out as an action which can’t be negated.I has an effect and produces, hopefully an affect and then subsequent action.
      Their action similarly, whatever that action maybe.
      The positioning of the work and its content will generate ‘something’. It is if you like an act of ‘mischief’, but not without a serious underlying intention to provoke thinking.
      It is tempting to install some sort of surveillance but I think, at the moment, that the ‘unseen action’ is more relevant.
      Thanks so much again for the comment. It’s really helpful to me in making me clarify and more to the point, express, my intentions and thinking.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. How did you see it Pete? I need to know….
    I think myself it pretends to be the sort of installation you may see in a tourist ‘ Viewing’ spot’.
    Where you have a map of things to spot in the distance….mountian peaks, for example, or Italy! depending where you are and how high up.


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