In 2016, UK-based artists The Common People, Adam Clarke and Victoria Bennett were invited to take part in Bernheim’s Artist-in-Residence program, along with their eight-year-old son, Django. As a family, they spent eight weeks living and working within Bernheim, exploring the natural environment through daily hikes, and discovering more about its history and habitats through the wide knowledge and expertise of its staff and volunteers. This was a unique residency in many ways, bringing together art, gaming, and nature through the perspective of an artist-family-in-residence.
During their time at Bernheim, Adam, Victoria and Django created a series of Minecraft maps in response to their experiences. These Minecraft sketches went on to become Wood and Pixels, an interactive Minecraft world that allows players to explore a range of locations within Bernheim, for example, Rock Run Loop, The Fire Tower and Earth Measure. Following their residency, Wood and Pixels was released as a free-to-download map on the Bernheim website.
Bernheim was thrilled to work with Adam and Victoria again, to update the Wood and Pixels world. The new Bedrock version includes updates and is available for free download to players around the globe, to enjoy the wonders of Bernheim in Minecraft on their consoles, PCs and tablets. Adam and Victoria are also excited to announce a special Minecraft Education Edition of Wood and Pixels, that can be used by teachers and students around the world to discover more about Bernheim, with special features including NPC guides and additional learning materials.
“Taking part in the Bernheim Artist-in- Residence Program was an amazing experience for us, as artists and as a family. Wood and Pixels expresses the joy and inspiration that we discovered during our stay at Bernheim and we are delighted to be able to share that with even more people now. As social-distancing impacts our daily lives, Minecraft provides a great digital refuge for our young people to meet, learn and explore. Our Minecraft world, Wood and Pixels, enables young people and families to visit, explore, and learn about the inspiring natural spaces of Bernheim in a fun and accessible way, even if they can’t get there in person.”
Adam Clarke is a digital artist who specializes in creating groundbreaking virtual Minecraft worlds that engage and inspire, including Tateworlds with Tate Britain (shortlisted for the IK Prize), Infinity with Liverpool Biennial, Fire! Fire! with the Museum of London, and Templecraft, a sculpture and Minecraft collaboration with David Best in Derry/Londonderry, Ireland. Adam is also Wizard Keen on the popular YouTube show Wonderquest, alongside YouTube star, Stampy, that has more than half million subscribers around the world.
Victoria Bennett is a poet and writer and a 2020 New Writing North winner in the Debut Awards non-fiction category, for her memoir “All My Wild Mothers”, which was also long-listed in the Nan Shepherd Nature Writing Prize 2019. Her latest poetry pamphlet “To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre” is due out with Indigo Dreams later in 2020. She was awarded the Writing Platform Digital Writing Award for My Mother’s House, a playable Minecraft poem exploring terminal illness and bereavement, featured in the Guardian Newspaper and selected in the Top 5 Best Minecraft Maps 2016. She holds an MA (Creative Writing) from Lancaster University and is currently a research student with the University of Highlands and Islands, looking at narratives of absence around personal and ecological bereavement using poetry and XR technology. Learn more about Victoria by checking out her website.
Adam and Victoria have collaborated on a number of projects. They co-authored a book on Minecraft and developing emotional intelligence, The Unofficial Minecraft Life Hacks Lab for Kids (Quarto 2019) and together, they run The Wizard and The Wyld, a digital gaming/storytelling collaboration that creates Official Minecraft Marketplace maps. They live in rural northern England, where they homeschool their son, Django.
Click on the image below to see a recent article featuring Adam Clarke and his work with Minecraft that also references their artist family in residence at Bernheim!