To celebrate the 1900th anniversary of the start of construction on Hadrian’s Wall – the former frontier of the Roman Empire – English Heritage commissioned London-based artist Morag Myerscough to create a colourful installation.
The former Design Indaba conference speaker designed a contemporary take on the original Roman gatehouse at Housesteads Roman Fort, titled ‘The Future Belongs To What Was As Much As What Is’ – a reimagined version constructed from a scaffolding frame, brightly coloured panels and words of hope from the local community.
A large part of the installation’s attraction is the chance for visitors to climb the structure and see the elevated views of Hadrian’s Wall that have been inaccessible for over 1600 years.
To find out more about the project, we asked Myerscough some questions.
1. 'The Future Belongs to What Was As Much As What Is' is the name of the installation. What is the inspiration behind this name?
The title of the work came from one of our word workshops: What relationship do people have with Hadrian's wall? What do walls mean to them? What do passing places, gateways, and doorway openings mean to them? And other conversations that came out of those questions. The words used for the title were by Andrew McCoy.
2. How did you incorporate the Roman designs and artefacts on display at Chesters Roman Fort And Museum into the design of the wooden placards?
Patterns were drawn up using the artefacts at Chesters as reference (see pictures below).
3. How did you involve the local community in this project?
Through word and pattern workshops, as mentioned above. In painting workshops, the community painted over 100 of the placards for the installation and designed some of their own symbols. The whole work is the voice of the community.
4. What does giving visitors a glimpse of views that haven't been seen for 1600 years mean to you? How did this inform your design?
I chose the site of the work because the views out were so incredible, and the feeling of wilderness. As the wall is very fragmented, I felt strongly that I wanted to build on the actual wall. I wanted the visitor to get a real sense of the scale of the fort and to be able to look out as the Romans did when they looked out from the gatehouse.
Find out more about visiting Housesteads Roman Fort at Hadrian's Wall online at https://inda.ba/3BEPE1J
Credits: Morag Myerscough and The Heritage Fund UK
Photo credits: Chris Ison