Launched in 2025, NetPark is the World’s first Digital Art Park and a new, permanent visitor attraction for Southend. Fifteen engaging and playful artworks and stories take you on different journeys around the park. Designed for a variety of audiences, the range of works ensures that there is something to enchant all ages and allows for a shared experience or individual reflection.
The collection includes artworks created by artists and five site-specific stories created by Southend school pupils working with writers and illustrators. All the works are GPS located and experienced through a smart device, either iPad, iPhone or Android, and are best experienced with a set of headphones.
“In all the years I have lived in the area – including the years I lived practically opposite the park – I’ve never just sat there in such a mindful way as that.”
How to access the artworks:
The following NetPark apps can be downloaded / accessed on Android phones and iPhones/iPads:
- Android: Matmos, Running to Flight, The Oneironaut, Play Southend, Everyday Fiction, Spiky Black
- iPhone/iPad: Spoken Word Poetry Tours, The Garden of Remember (iPad only), Spiky Black, Everyday Fiction
The full collection of all 14 NetPark apps can be experienced on Metal’s iPads – to enquire about iPad hire, dates availability and costs, please contact us on email@example.com.
Where to access the artworks:
- Address: Chalkwell Park, Southend on Sea SS0 8NB
- Opening Hours: 6am – 8pm
- Matmos: Site-specific music created from original sounds recorded from the everyday park life.
- The Oneironaut by Joel Cahen: A promenade work that places you in the position of a traveller or lucid dreamer.
- Running to Flight by Rosie Poebright: A processional work explores your physical and emotional responses to the landscape.
- Spoken word tours by Mark Grist & DJ Mixy: Spoken word poetry tours, including the love story of a couple growing up in and around Chalkwell Park.
- Spiky Black by Amanda Loomes and Alison Carlier’s: An app responding to the historic Rose Garden and the punk gardener who tends them, takes listeners on an abstracted but informative exploration of how roses are bred, grown and named – all set to a fantastic soundtrack.
- Woodland by French and Mottershead: A contemplative piece that asks listeners to find the shade of a big tree, lie down (perfect activity for a hot day) and go on a poetic audio odyssey spanning 1000 years to explore how the afterlife of a human body is part of the natural life cycle of the earth.
- Everyday Fiction: An audio work derived from the artist’s time in-residence at Chalkwell Hall in 2016, exploring the ambiguities between reality and fiction that we encounter in everyday life. Real events and imagined lives are brought together in a heart-breaking story of loss, grief, and mental illness.
- The Garden of Remember: This app explores memory and its relationship to dementia. It was made as in collaboration between Metal, Southend Borough Council and National Health Service (NHS, England). The Garden of Remember has been managed by local artist Elsa James and NetPark Mental Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Emma Mills working with people living with dementia, local school children and young people over a series of workshops in 2016.
- Play Southend, Now or Never – Re-discover and explore Southend through play! Have you ever hummed a Lulu lullaby? When was the last time you walked backwards in silence, towards land? Play Southend Now or Never! is a unique App for mobile devices that will make you experience Southend in fresh, imaginative and mischievous ways.
- Reciprocity Forest by Joanna Sperryn-Jones: An augmented reality map in 3 parts to be experienced at Chalkwell Park, commissioned by Metal and Forestry England.
- The Disappearing Spell written by pupils from Chalkwell Hall Junior School, working with writer, Lucy Sheerman and illustrator, Maggie Li.
- Witch Quest written by pupils from St Georges School, working with writer, Vahni Capildeo and illustrator, Maddy Vian.
- Scentopia written by pupils from Thorpe Greenways Junior School, working with writer, Syd Moore and illustrator, Karl Lawson.
- Cake Work written by pupils from Milton Hall Junior School, working with writer, Jeremy Hardingham and illustrator, Zoe Barker.
- Hello Friend Monster written by pupils from Westborough School, working with writer, Vahni Capildeo and illustrator, Claire Softley.
“The apps become a park pursuit bonus, even encouraging you to spend more time being engrossed in the surroundings.”
A new digital park logo to indicate public green space with open wi-fi was developed and designed by Malcolm Garrett of Images&Co as part of the NetPark project.