Figure of 8

Photo: Sue Venables

Figure of 8

Brixton Ice Rink

London is often described as a cold, unfriendly place. ‘Figure of 8’ questioned this perception and looked at how a sense of connection in society can be encouraged and made visible. The project explored how territorial and interactive relationships, in the darkness of a frozen stage, can act as a metaphor for how we live our lives and find ways of belonging.

Eight non-professional skaters were invited to participate, representing a diverse range of ice skating activities, backgrounds and ages. Despite sharing an ice rink most of them had never met one another before. They were chosen because of the importance skating plays in their lives and the different ways they inhabit the ice, leaving marks that are distinct to them and show their individual paths.

To compare the journeys inside on the ice, and the journeys outside on the streets, each skater was given a GPS device to record their pathway home, to or from the rink.

The GPS tracks were scaled and mapped onto the ice. Each skater glided along the GPS track of another route, whilst simultaneously watching their own journey skated by someone else. Sketched in the darkness, onto the ice, each path became a temporary light drawing, illuminating unexpected connections.

A People United Commission in association with the National Theatre. Funded by Arts Council England.