The Outposted Project is a truly experimental collaboration between Susie Hetherington and poet JLM Morton (Juliette). It came about in March 2020, after the surreal first two weeks of Covid ‘lockdown’. Both reeling from the impact of school closures, self-employment angst, and the shock of being separated from loved ones… not to mention the globally shared fear of the virus itself, Susie and Juliette felt a desire to connect, despite isolation. They were pretty sure others were feeling it too. After a late night flurry of Whatsapp conversations, The Outposted Project was born.
It all begins with an OS map of the Stroud Valleys, hand prepared and block printed by Susie with a logo she had designed to give the project life. Susie and Juliette sent it on a journey to pass through the hands of 28 other local creatives; artists, designers, poets, writers and musicians. The hope was to create a chain of response to their unexpected circumstances; pandemic, isolation, or contented solitude... they asked for an entirely personal response. Each artist creates and pins work to the map, or works directly onto it, before posting it on to a new participant. The map becomes a kind of shared canvas, or a psychic space, where art can belong in bizarre, disconnected times.
As 2020 progressed, The Outposted Project grew, with three further maps sent off. South London, Brecon and Brighton & Hove were sent out 'rogue'... with no set recipients or direction. Still circulating their respective locations, the map's journeys speed up and slow down organically, filling up bit by bit, and becoming fascinating canvasses depicting a shared moment in time.
The end of the project isn't yet known, and the outcome isn't predetermined, but ideally an exhibition would celebrate the efforts of those involved and invite more people to see the finished maps. In the meantime, participants and highlights can be found on here; The Outposted Project and on social media, linked through the website.
Work shown here by Sophie Herxheimer, Hannah Firmin, Alex Wharton, Nick Grellier, Hannah Linfoot and Anniek Verholt.