PVA - LabCulture

Sue Hill is Creative Director at the Eden Project in Cornwall. She has seen it develop right from the start and offers her candid thoughts on its successes and failures. Sue has been a key figure in the Cornish art scene and a long time member of Knee High Theatre Company.

Eden has been phenomenally successful, what do you think are the keys to
this success?

Epic architecture. Re-inventing the wheel on a daily basis. Useful levels of disrespect for how things have been done before. Doing stuff for the sheer joy and exhilaration of it.

There are art projects all over the site throughout the year, how do you organise all this stuff?

Seat-of-the-pants, skin-of-our-teeth, 60+ hours a week. GSOH.

Eden has a number of objectives, how does creativity slot into the mix?

We're mainly looking at sustainability here - how we trade, travel, eat, heal, build, farm, play, without compromising the systems that the planet needs to function.

I believe that if we are all to have a happy future, it will only be through the exercise of imagination and creativity. We can imagine other ways of being, and use our ingenuity to make them happen. So that's what we celebrate and promote.

You've seen it grow right from the beginning - what are your impressions of this 'journey'?

Back in 2001, just before opening, John Allen (one of the original bionauts from the Biosphere closed ecosystem projects in Arizona) asked me how it was all going. I told him it was a bit like riding a very scary tidal wave. He said 'How is your Chaos Theory Sue?' 'Nonexistent' 'Well what you have to understand is that Chaos is a beautiful thing. When you're in Chaos you can change things in a moment. In Stasis you can put a nuclear bomb under it and nothing'll shift. Learn to love it'.

What kind of stuff really excites you creatively?

Getting dirty.

Have you got a favourite pair of shoes, if so describe them?

I am the Imelda Marcos of Cornwall, so picking one pair is pretty tricky. Proper Argyll rubber wellies with fluffy Damart liners. Yellow satin Beijing Opera pumps with black piping. Awesome red leather high heels with wings on the ankles, impossible to walk in ('Dahlink, you'll never have to walk, men will carry you...') Now you're sorry you asked.

Cornwall seems to be taking off at the moment with Objective 1 money. What do you hope will come out of this?

Ireland is just coming out the other end of Objective One. We could do worse than take the advice of Michael D Higgins their former Minister for Arts and Culture - 'It is precisely when you have stagnation in the economy, when you can't create jobs in the old way - that is the time when you should be investing in culture, because you are then investing in tolerance, you're investing in diversity, you're investing in creativity and imagination'.

What would be your one piece of advice to people embarking on big projects
like Eden?

Stay human. Corporatism is death.

Is Iraq evil?
I don't believe in evil. Stupid, greedy, ambitious, chauvinistic,
uneducated, yes. But we're talking individuals here, not nationalities.

How do artists get in touch with the Eden Project?

Send images/ideas to me (no slides or originals please).

Sue Hill, Artistic Director, Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall

Anything else?
Topweird moment at Eden - going shopping in St Agnes Spar with Jarvis Cocker. He bought champagne, I bought lambchops.

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