Jubilee Oak

Jubilee Oak Project Outline

Olympic Torch Festivities, 20 July 2012


  • To create an innovative semi-permanent large-scale light and digital installation at Jubilee Wood in Stoke Park to celebrate the torch’s arrival in Guildford and the Olympics
  • To improve the Jubilee Wood area from an underutilized area to increase use of this recreational space by the public, with facilities to be used for future events, installations, activities and performances.
  • To involve disadvantaged communities in creating a magical environment and creating a sense of place and civic pride in Surrey.

Benefits to Surrey’s Residents

  • Sense of Civic Pride: High profile innovative public art project in Surrey, inspired by Surrey’s countryside, which may also feature in national press and media.
  • Building confidence and self-esteem for disadvantaged people in Surrey: through participation of people with disabilities in a high quality and high profile project.
  • Inspiring creativity: this is an original arts project led by three artists who have reputations for producing remarkable and high quality work. They will be collaborating with scientists at University of Surrey to bring new technology into the work.
  • Improved public space for recreational use: by improving the area and installing electricity and lighting, the space will be available and equipped for future events, encouraging residents to use Stoke Park, contributing to wellbeing.
  • Increased skills: as well as teaching skills to participants, three apprentice artists will be mentored by the lead artists throughout the project.


Metal Monkeys

Guildford Borough Council – Parks & Countryside, 2012/Economic Development & Arts Departments

Surrey County Council

University of Surrey

DAiSY (Disability Arts in Surrey – network of organizations working with people with disabilities)

The Project

Metal Monkeys proposes Jubilee Oak, a semi-permanent large scale public art work that celebrates the Surrey landscape at Jubilee Wood in Stoke Park, Guildford.  It will bring together workshop contributions from communities across the county to mark the arrival of the Olympic Torch to Guildford; its last stop before London and the Olympic stadium.

Surrey is the most wooded county in England and Jubilee Oak provides a playful, magical and visually compelling focus for 25,000 expected visitors from across Surrey attending the Olympic Torch festivities.  The project leaves a legacy, providing meandering chalk pathways, suspended artworks and recorded soundscapes that bring life to an otherwise overlooked group of trees.  It will create a magical environment, also inspired by the tales of Alice in Wonderland.

The project draws inspiration from the landscape and innovative cutting edge technology in equal measure, both key elements of Surrey.  The work will celebrate local Surrey eco systems & natural life forms, responding to the character of the different trees.


Community Involvement

Parts of the work will be created through community workshops, 26 workshop days are planned.  As with Anthony Gormley’s ‘Field’ project, participants will see their individual pieces of work coming together on site as part of an impressive, coherent whole directed through a clear artistic vision. The many Jubilee Oak

project participants will benefit from a strong sense of participation, ownership, creativity and wonder.   The installation will be enjoyed by an audience of thousands and afterwards by many more visitors to the park.

Use of Technology

Working with scientists at University of Surrey, the artists will develop use of light in the different installations as outlined below.  In addition, infra red lights will be used to create messages and images, invisible to the human eye, but visible through mobile phone cameras. QR codes will also enable participants to link to websites with further information about the works, the site and trees.

The Acorn

The overall shape of the wood is the shape of an acorn, linking to the Oak tree – the leaf being the symbol of Surrey. A chalk path will take performers and audience on a meandering journey through the wood.  In addition, Metal Monkeys will create a temporary ‘moonlit’ chalk promenade around the perimeter cup of the acorn.

The Oak Chandelier Tree

Taking inspiration from the 2012 Cycle events, Metal Monkeys will create hand built chandeliers using bike wheels, porcelain acorn seeds & paper clay leaves. The chandeliers will be lit with fibre optic light as an integral part of the structure and decorated with recycled glass and mylar (mirror) reflection leaves. Elements of this idea will involve input from Surrey communities through a series of workshops.

The Cocoon Tree (Plane)

Flash gun light exposure will light ‘glow in the dark’ bugs hiding within 2 metre high cocoon structures that hang from the tree. The illumination of the insects will gradually fade and be revealed again with repeated timed flash gun exposures. Insects will be made at the community workshops.

Raining Tree (Oak)

Micro glow worm silk trails will feature delicate ‘dripping lines’ with a pump and irrigation system, which will recycle water from a collection point at the base of the tree. This installation will use laser technology combined with water and translucent nylon thread and fibre optics to create the raining tree concept; which gently drips raindrops of light from its branches.

Beech Blowers (Beech trees)

Three trees on the edge of the wood and will draw people into the more intimate area. The audience will be invited to power large inflatable sculptures by cycling adapted bicycles, connected to mechanical blowers to fully inflate the sculptures.  This installation will draw inspiration from glow worm silk trails but exploring them in ‘macro’ scale.


Three of the trees, as well as lighting effects will have recorded individual soundscapes that will create an immersive experience for the viewer.  The sounds will be responsive to the tree and its natural habitat.  These may be layered with voice, tonal vibration and music to create cohesive individual sound pieces that are played throughout the event. This sound piece will also inform dance performances that will take place within the woods as part of the celebrations. The different soundscapes will be created by community groups and Sonica Studios.


The costumes will be made during community workshops and will echo the suspended artworks, and will be worn by “performers” during the installation, animating the space through movement.


The budget for this project is £246K.  Approximately £145K cash and in kind has been secured and an application for £60K has been submitted to Arts Council England.  Additional smaller applications have been submitted to trusts and foundations.