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North South East West
Richard Long 2017

North South East West in the grand Stone Hall is made from Cornish slate and Norfolk flint.

Questions

Whilst these questions have been designed to be suitable entry points for Key Stages 1-4, we would encourage you to use the questions as broadly and fully as is appropriate to your group.

Key Stage 1
How many different shapes can you see?
What does home mean?

Key Stage 2
What emotions does this work make you feel?
Where do we go from here?
Where is here? What is better here or there?

Key Stage 3
What qualities do the materials of North South East West have and how do they compare with the interior of the Stone Hall?
What is stability if you can’t see it? Does it mean it is not there?

Key Stage 4
How does this specific interior setting and light levels affect the resonance of this work, compared to the ‘natural’ settings of the land art?
How does an environment change when materials arrive from other places?
What is the artist communicating to us?

HE/FE
What relationship can you suggest between NSEW and the ceiling of the Stone Hall?

Back in the classroom
Think about your position back in class – which way do you face? What would you find in that direction 1, 10, 100 or 1000 miles away?

Materials

Made from Cornish slate and Norfolk flint  

Flint is an extremely hard material due to its silica content. Its formation is very complex and has its origins in the ancient oceans. The chalk of the sea bed was full of deep burrows made by many different organisms, such as molluscs, echinoids and worms. Flint was formed by chemical reactions within the silica rich sediments which accumulated in these burrows. This is the reason for the extraordinary labyrinthine shapes of these nodules which were dug out of the ground near Castle Acre, where they are quarried along with the chalk in which they occur. This local flint surrounds the slate which is imported, like so much of the surrounding material in the Stone Hall and the stone used to build the house.

Find out more in the tab below.

 

The resources are below:

Made from Cornish slate and Norfolk flint  

Flint is an extremely hard material due to its silica content. Its formation is very complex and has its origins in the ancient oceans. The chalk of the sea bed was full of deep burrows made by many different organisms, such as molluscs, echinoids and worms. Flint was formed by chemical reactions within the silica rich sediments which accumulated in these burrows. This is the reason for the extraordinary labyrinthine shapes of these nodules which were dug out of the ground near Castle Acre, where they are quarried along with the chalk in which they occur. This local flint surrounds the slate which is imported, like so much of the surrounding material in the Stone Hall and the stone used to build the house.

The flint is quarried alongside the chalk in which the nodules naturally occur and both materials are still used in the county and also exported.
The chalk sea bed is deeply burrowed by many different organisms, such as shells, echinoids and worms etc. Some of these burrows are quite deep or branching, or have open living spaces. The burrows fill with sediment after the organism has died, this is slightly different material from the sediment around it. These filled burrows act as preferential pathways (conduits) for the chemical reactions to occur. Flint formed within these old burrows often has a nodular shape which reflects the whole, or part of, overgrown remnants of such burrow systems.

There are two possible explanations for why flint forms in bands or layers. Firstly because chalk sedimentation occurs in cycles and secondly because the process above exhausts the silica within a given depth of sediment and flint formation can only recommence when there is enough silica to start the process again.

Flint is a cryptocrystalline form of quartz found as nodules within sedimentary rocks, principally within chalk and limestone, and is a form of chert. Flint nodules may be almost any colour, including black, dark grey, white, brown or green and have a waxy or vitreous lustre and a concoidal fracture. The outer layer of flint nodules is typically dull and is white or light grey.

Flint forms during diagenesis of carbonate sediments by the precipitation silica from solution. The silica probably originates from siliceous fossils such as sponge spicules. Fossils are often found within flint nodules and may act as nuclei for nodule growth.

The hard and brittle nature of flint causes it to splinter into sharp fragments and led to flint being used to create neolithic tools. Later flint was used to ignite gun power since it produces sparks when struck against steel. Flint and pyrite can also be used to ignite kindling to start fires.

TALKING HEADS

‘bonus dormitet Homerus’ – ‘good Homer sleeps! (Horace)

‘the balance of power’ (Sir Robert Walpole)

Homer: Time’s long and Homer sometimes nods…
Hesiod: Then wakes to this nightmare. Broken bones.
Homer: Sockets, splinters, ankles. Dear gods!
Trajan: Undressed flints and slates. Just a heap of stones.

Homer: Look at it. Not even marble.
Gladiator: Slate weapons, nodules, grey-white turds.
Hercules: I’ll chuck them all out. It’s a garble.
Homer: Yes, a total muck. I’m lost for words.

North, South, East, West: What a chorus! A rumpus!
But here in this hall I’m lost. A bugaboo!
They say I’m laid out like a compass
but I can’t escape from this human zoo.

Hoist the chandelier! Lift the high ceiling!
Or else collapse this chequered tile floor.
Throw open the doors to blood and feeling,
Blossom and birdsong, and the wind’s caress and roar?

Sir Robert Walpole: No! Time’s not a passing shower.
Not so fast! Don’t dismiss what’s past or new.
Haven’t you heard of the balance of power?
Democratic, desirable and long overdue.

 

by Kevin Crossley-Holland

 

NOTE: How do you respond to the placing of this piece? Is it useful to hear different viewpoints? What is Walpole getting at when he says ‘Don’t dismiss what’s past or new’?