2008, Tatton Park, UK / London, UK         

I am So Sorry. Goodbye

Timber, acrylic, stove, guardian, other media, 4.3 x 6.5 x 11 m

Commissioned for Tatton Park Biennial, 2008, and rebuilt for the exhibition Radical Nature at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, 2009

Hand built by the artists in Tatton Park, Cheshire, for the first Tatton Park Biennial in 2008 and functioning as a shelter, observatory, and performance space where visitors were served tea, I am so sorry. Goodbye comprised two intersecting geodesic spheres made from wood harvested from naturally fallen trees in the park. The work is one of several that the Morisons describe as ‘escape vehicles’ – works that transport us though time or space, in our mind or in reality. Each structure offers up a different strategy for survival and suggests a different way to see the world. This ‘escape vehicle’ unifies two acts – of making and of use – in a way that can be read as a complex set of social rituals. The space inside is configured so that we look out through triangular apertures at precise views of the man-made ‘natural’ landscape beyond, framed by these portals, allowing a new view of the familiar. We are taken back to a moment of utopian optimism, but with the hindsight of that period’s flaws.

Ivan Morison explained the unusual genesis of the work: ‘The conjoined domes of I am so sorry. Goodbye are inhabited by a guardian whose task it is to keep the stove lit, water boiled, and visitors supplied with hibiscus tea. The guardian has the vocabulary of the words “I”, “am”, “so”, “sorry”, and “goodbye”. These words were first conveyed to us while we were staying in an old upmarket hotel on Alexandria’s corniche, the city’s waterfront promenade. Late one night, I received a call in which the only words that were said, by the slow doleful male foreign voice, were “I am so sorry.… I am so sorry.… Goodbye.” After putting the phone down, I felt witness to something that I didn’t fully understand, but believed that we had been given the task to pass on this cryptic message.

By this stage in our practice, we had come to understand two things: the importance of finding and valuing the integrity in the materials to hand, and the creative power of allowing the process to drive you forwards. To that end, we practised a methodology of minimal preparation. We arrived on site with our team and a month’s build ahead of us, and with timber domes in our minds, but no materials and no practical knowledge of how to build such things. We walked the grounds and found fallen chestnuts and felled larch, brought in the mill, and made our materials. We put our heads together and through a collective process of development worked out how this could be built. Magic can happen in those intense periods of collective activity towards a shared goal.’

The Morison's work really pushes your imagination. At first you think you've come across some cosy yurt-ish new age traveller structure, but the more you dwell on it the less cosy it becomes. It's all about a fantasy of post-apocalyptic survivalism, with all the misanthropy and horror that implies.

William Shaw, Best of 2008, RSA Arts & Ecology


And there it was, damply glistening at the side of a pond like some sort of giant misshapen wooden gourd complete with bumpy rind and domed stalk; this was a beautifully oversized pumpkin that you could go inside. Influenced by the utopian vision of west coast American communities who began to build by hand their dome shaped homes in the 1970’s, Heather and Ivan Morison’s magical tree house deposited deep into the woods has all the vision and endeavour for perfection that Richard Buckminster Fuller himself had as he conceived the geodesic dome. A perfection that strives, as he did, to improve humanity’s condition, to make things better, and the influencer of these paradoxically flawed but perfect houses in the first place.

Kevin Hunt, Tatton Park Biennial, Interface, AN, 2008 


I am so sorry. Goodbye (Escape Vehicle number 4) comprises two intersecting geodesic spheres, hand-built from wood harvested from naturally fallen trees in Tatton Park, and functions as shelter, observatory and performance space, where visitors are served tea. The Morisons’ ‘escape vehicle’ unifies two acts, of making and use, in a way that can be read as a complex set of social rituals.
At one level, the artists are concerned with their general experiences, development of ideas and memories. These include, first, an interest in making such structures that originates in social and architectural ideas from the late sixties and seventies, and second, their experiences of being served tea in China, Japan, Mongolia and elsewhere...
There is an aspect of this work that is not so easily brought to analytical heel. The catalogue entry tells us that the Vehicle’s visitors receive their tea from “a ‘guardian’, whose vocabulary is limited to a handful of words [and whose] clothes and language work together with the structure to present an amalgam of cultural references, past and present, creating a situation that may also be read as a possible future.” This is the point at which I begin to make sense of the work’s title, with its suggestion of regret at an inevitable parting; a parting anticipated by the preparation of a means of Escape. Now we can receive the whole work, in its distant, imagined beginnings and present making and use, as a ritual of meetings and partings, in which all the difficulties of articulation and mutual understanding between strangers are subsumed and transformed in that act of sharing tea. The implied corollary of such sharing is that we all eventually Go Back Home.

Paul Griffiths, Tatton Park Biennial, Shakkei, Volume 15 Number 3, 2008

Photographers’ credits       

All images_ Ivan Morison

Love Me or Leave Me Alone        


Love Me or Leave Me Alone, The Very Public Art of Heather Peak and Ivan Morison presents a journey through the past decade and a half of the artists’ practice, with an emphasis on their pavilions, escape vehicles, and public artworks.  The book can be ordered from the publishers Art/Books
Press contact        

If you can’t find the information you are looking for you can contact the studio of Heather Peak and Ivan Morison here: studio@peakmorison.org