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Explicit Ground: Boglands Landscape Management And Visitor Centre

Part 2 Project 2012
Brian Jordan
Dublin Institute of Technology Ireland
The boglands have been formed over thousands of years and are composed of deep layers of waterlogged peat with a surface of living vegetation. Peat or turf is harvested and used as a fuel for domestic heating. The bog is a natural ancient ground. It is a collection of notions in relation to time, place, identity and memory. To stand at the edge of the bog is to stand at the edge of time; of days, of years, of centuries. Ritual and sacrifice have strong historic links with the bogs and there use as tribal boundaries. This engages the idea of the bog as a liminal space; a blocked path, where the ground itself shifts between solid and liquid and instils a tension between the past and present in the surface of these sites. The harvested bog is this uneasiness being unearthed. An interest arose in how the bog was cut, by machine but mainly by hand, and the culture, tradition and social aspects linked with spending the day in the bog. As a method of further exploring the ideas of cutting turf an ‘Open Air Museum’ in the form of a walk towards a harvested bog is proposed. Cutting the bog is seen as a method of extracting a way of building from it. A groundsman supervises the transition of the landscape. The Visitor’s Centre is the base camp from which the visitor experiences the landscape. There is a studio space from which the groundsmen work and a gallery for the display of objects from the bog where the story of the bogland will develop as series of snapshots in time. Notionally the components are like that of an inhabited section of a togher. The togher is an ancient road or causeway built to access boglands and was maintained by adding addition layers. The idea that these layers would become flattened and sink to give persistence and foundation to the next layer begins to situate this construction as a snapshot in an extended timeframe. The building becomes an instrument with which to measure and to calibrate the landscape.
Brian Jordan


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