About the pebbles

In the topsoil of north London are numerous small, round pebbles; the story goes that w hen the UK was covered by an ice sheet in the last ice age (10,000 BC) that it came down just this far and that the hills of North West London – Hampstead, Highgate, Finchley, Dollis Hill…are mounds of moraine left by the retreating glaciers.

Were the little pebbles then carried from far away by the ice and polished smooth by its action, or perhaps by the violent force of the gushing rivers of meltwater? Their infinitesimally slow but steady progress was halted when the ice age came to an end, leaving them to continue a different, static existence in the boulder clay, serving perhaps an unknown purpose there, perhaps none, perhaps unwittingly waiting for another cataclysm to take them further.

I have intervened in this natural process and brought the pebbles out from geological time into human-scale, historical time. From north London to Venice, an unexpected spurt of speed in their arrested southward journey.

From this point on their progress continues once again outside my control – visitors are invited to liberate a pebble, take it with them, to their home or perhaps on new and unexpected journeys of their own and log where they have taken it.

So a map can be built up of the passive journeys of the glacial pebbles from north London, via Venice as they are transported into the unknown.

Through the movement of the pebbles I am exploring how humans interact with the natural world, at how our patterns of movement and rapid change are superimposed on the existing, more ancient pattern.

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