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Tomorrow, Today

2014
Project:

Tomorrow, Today is a landscape intervention at Eddington in North West Cambridge - a 3D scale cob (earthen) model of the future building development, sited amidst the archaeological dig preceding construction on site. It is a large-scale (circa 80m in diameter) sculptural 'model' of what was to become Eddington. It places scale replicas of all the planned streets and buildings right next to the remains of the archaeological dig on site. This 'model village of the future' was hand-built with volunteers on location using 'cob', a traditional, ecologically-sustainable material made primarily from the earth excavated in situ by the archaeologists.

Tomorrow, Today was to remain in place for about a year as site development began around it, before being backfilled under the development for future archaeologists to discover.

However, to date, the development has not buried it!

We were artists in residence on the new North West Cambridge (now named Eddington) development site for over a year and it was a fascinating chance to work alongside the CAU archaeologists and become involved with the site hands-on.

As we were part of the 'first wave' of artists to be appointed we felt quite keenly that we'd been given a unique chance to look back at the history of site, to record its present condition and to try and imagine the future part of the city about to be built.

At the beginning of our residency we joined the archaeology team digging on site. This was a very muddy, extremely cold week but one we wouldn't have missed for the world! It gave us a chance to think about all these aspects of the project whilst physically engaged with the place. We were enthralled by the process of the archaeology and caught up by the enthusiasm and expertise that surrounded us on the rather windswept moon-like landscape we were digging. Somehow the archaeologists were able to transport themselves (and us) back in time and really imagine how this part of Cambridge may have previously been hundreds of years ago.
Meanwhile in spite of lots of virtual fly throughs, models and talks we seemed to be finding it very difficult to imagine what these muddy fields might look like even 5 years into the future!

This experience on the dig led directly to this project, engaging with the transient nature of the site and this fleeting, unique archaeological access to the past, as well as encouraging reflection on human transience and future communities here.

The site held 3 Open Weekends in June 2014, and unofficially the work is still accessible on foot for visitors during daylight hours.

Thanks to the 60 volunteer cobbers, to Kirsten Lavers (our coordinator) and to everyone else who helped make this project a success.

HOW TO FIND IT:
North West Cambridge Development, Gravel Hill Farm, Madingley Rise,
Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0FU.

Vehicular access only from Madingley Rise. Entrance to Gravel Hill Farm is located between the Department of Earth Sciences and the Bullard Laboratories. Please follow North West Cambridge Project Office signs. Pedestrian and cyclist access from the south (as for vehicles) from the north via the Avenue of Chestnut Trees (beside 181 Huntingdon Road) and the east via Storey's Way.

Sensible footwear and outdoor clothing are recommended!

You can read more about the other NWC residencies and our project blog by visiting the NWC website here.

Photo: Karen Guthrie

Photo: Dave Webb