Within the grounds just outside the Houses of Parliament in London there is a small square of grass surrounded by a number identical trees. Every autumn when their leaves turn orange the gardener can be seen climbing a step ladder and plucking every leaf from their branches before it has a chance to fall to the ground. On investigation by the Independent, the official reason for this was one of economics - The leaves are removed each winter as a more time-efficient alternative to raking fallen leaves.

 

The absurdity of this encapsulated the ideas of control and the maintenance of nature that I had been exploring and this felt especially relevant happening in a place built with the sole purpose of instilling law and order.

I was keen to create work in response to this and the best way I felt to so this would be by creating a piece of video art, a new medium for me.  I decided to recreate the plucking of leaves in a rural setting and as part of a farcical council maintenance plan for rural areas – Rural Control and Maintenance Plan (RCMP).

 

Drawing from my experience working with councils on public art projects I was often faced with tedious and seemingly endless bureaucracy. Long documents would be produced full of eye wateringly boring language and indecipherable acronyms. Within the 3.5 minute video I produced I tried to reflect this by having a middle aged sounding, white male’s voice, reading quotes from a genuine council maintenance plan, evidently never meant to be read aloud, whilst a sped up visual of a maintenance worker in high vis jacket plucks the autumnal leaves from a small tree.

Maintained (RCMP)
‘Maintained (RCMP)’