Timber, acrylic, stove, guardian, other media
Commissioned for Tatton Park Biennial, 2008
The Morison's work really pushes your imagination. At first you think you've come across some cosy yurt-ish new age traveller structure, but the more you dwell on it the less cosy it becomes. It's all about a fantasy of post-apocalyptic survivalism, with all the misanthropy and horror that implies.
William Shaw, Best of 2008, RSA Arts & Ecology
And there it was, damply glistening at the side of a pond like some sort of giant misshapen wooden gourd complete with bumpy rind and domed stalk; this was a beautifully oversized pumpkin that you could go inside. Influenced by the utopian vision of west coast American communities who began to build by hand their dome shaped homes in the 1970’s, Heather and Ivan Morison’s magical tree house deposited deep into the woods has all the vision and endeavour for perfection that Richard Buckminster Fuller himself had as he conceived the geodesic dome. A perfection that strives, as he did, to improve humanity’s condition, to make things better, and the influencer of these paradoxically flawed but perfect houses in the first place.
Kevin Hunt, Tatton Park Biennial, Interface, AN, 2008
I am so sorry. Goodbye (Escape Vehicle number 4) comprises two intersecting geodesic spheres, hand-built from wood harvested from naturally fallen trees in Tatton Park, and functions as shelter, observatory and performance space, where visitors are served tea. The Morisons’ ‘escape vehicle’ unifies two acts, of making and use, in a way that can be read as a complex set of social rituals.
At one level, the artists are concerned with their general experiences, development of ideas and memories. These include, first, an interest in making such structures that originates in social and architectural ideas from the late sixties and seventies, and second, their experiences of being served tea in China, Japan, Mongolia and elsewhere...
There is an aspect of this work that is not so easily brought to analytical heel. The catalogue entry tells us that the Vehicle’s visitors receive their tea from “a ‘guardian’, whose vocabulary is limited to a handful of words [and whose] clothes and language work together with the structure to present an amalgam of cultural references, past and present, creating a situation that may also be read as a possible future.” This is the point at which I begin to make sense of the work’s title, with its suggestion of regret at an inevitable parting; a parting anticipated by the preparation of a means of Escape. Now we can receive the whole work, in its distant, imagined beginnings and present making and use, as a ritual of meetings and partings, in which all the difficulties of articulation and mutual understanding between strangers are subsumed and transformed in that act of sharing tea. The implied corollary of such sharing is that we all eventually Go Back Home.
Paul Griffiths, Tatton Park Biennial, Shakkei, Volume 15 Number 3, 2008
The conjoined domes of I am so sorry. Goodbye. are inhabited by a guardian whose task it is to keep the stove lit, water boiled and visitors supplied with hibiscus tea. The guardian has the vocabulary of the words: I, am, so, sorry and goodbye. These words were first conveyed to us whilst staying in an old upmarket hotel on Alexandria's corniche. Late one night I received a call in which the only words that were said, by the slow doleful male foreign voice, were " I am so sorry sir... I am so sorry sir... Goodbye sir." After putting the phone down I felt witness to something I didn't fully understand, but felt that we had been given the task to pass on this cryptic message.
Ivan Morison, 2008