2010 - 2012
About the project
Road For The Future was a year-long collaborative project on a decommissioned rural railway, proposed as a cycle trailway by Sustrans, in West Dorset. Architects, artists, educators and ecologists were involved to create live art and events exploring issues around sustainable transport, food and commons.
My work is process based and dialogic, I employ narrative structures to places and situations, and an integral element here is to bring together a ‘steering group’ of collaborators, stakeholders and advisors in creating the artworks and working collectively.
I am working with the motivations and agendas of a number of local organisations, for whom contemporary art is unknown territory, as well as taking on the web of local politics and power relationships of this extremely rural, almost feudal, place. The context I speak of is an old unused railway that people are lobbying to change to a cycle route. It is a simple model for unused rural railway lines but here has become mired in controversy and a political battle of wills between landowners not wanting public access and the cyclists and others wanting the cycle route.
The specific spot for the pilot project is interesting and raises many contemporary issues – capital and commons, ownership inequalities, food production, oil dependency, and biodiversity survival. This is both a nature reserve and historic Common, in West Dorset, England.
About the artist
Anna Best has worked extensively in Britain and Europe over the past 25 years. She has a process-based practice investigating the local and particular narrative structures and the complicated process of making art with others.