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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

BCCA Commission

“What is missing from our dwellings today are the potential transactions between body, imagination, and environment”; … “To at least some extent every place can be remembered, partly because it is unique, but partly because it has affected our bodies and generated enough associations to hold it in our personal worlds.”
Juhani Pallasmaa in The eyes of the skin quoting Kent C Bloomer & Charles W Moore in Body, Memory, and Architecture

Considering this, how do we affectively and bodily experience the city when it is going through regeneration?
In the present work, I will more specifically look at a site bought by Tesco in West Bromwich city centre, where no construction has happened yet but where most of the buildings have been emptied. It is as difficult to apprehend the surface of this site, as it is to apprehend the amounts of money involved in the largest British retailer. Only a physical confrontation with the space and some imaginary illustrations can help drawing the sketch of a personal understanding.
Through a documented performance I will attempt to measure the perimeter of the site using a map and a string. The project will be accompanied by collected digital images, drawings and texts, which will come as a fantasmatic counterpart.

TESCO Red Line Boundary

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


Saturday, June 26, 2010 at 11:00am - Sunday, June 27, 2010 at 4:00pm
Location: Hanley Park, Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom

Common Ground is a weekend long arts event in Hanley Park, Stoke-on-Trent, organised by AirSpace Gallery Studio Artists. The project invites the public to discover art works hidden and placed in the city park. The art works work with the historical and physical reality of the site, and set out possible future visions for a public park in need of activation.
Common Ground has been commissioned in response to a recent public consultation project, Quality Streets, where the public expressed a desire to see activities and events taking place within the park.
Common Ground will see artists intervening in public spaces; loudly, quietly, secretly or overtly, in a manner which questions the use of public parkland in the 21st century. The works will last the weekend, be sensitive to the place they are situated, and offer opportunities for delight and magic in the city.

Events include:

Saturday 26th June:
11.30am - Brian Holdcroft sets off on his walk from Stoke Railway station.
around the bandstand -
12pm - Discovering the Green Man, A workshop for children and families with Kate Lynch
2pm - Audley Brass Band repopulate the bandstand
Sunday 11.30am onwards - David Bethell's durational performance 'digging'
4pm - celebratory picnic and rounders game (weather permitting)
Details about the Artists' Projects:

Phil Rawle turns a tree into a giant sundial with his Sand Drawing.
Bernard Charnley’s piece finds politicians up to their necks in it.
Andrew Branscombe‘s interactive musical sculpture references the human life of the park.
Kate Lynch asks the public to look out for the elusive and enigmatic character The Green Man.
Monument sees Stuart Porter drawing attention to features of the park that are more usually overlooked.
Katie Shipley explores the physical processes of memory through drawing and sculptural intervention.
Anna Francis excavates the Park’s Halcyon days, connecting to the history of a once great city park by repopulating the bandstand.
David Bethell will be undertaking durational performance ‘Digging’ between 11.30 am and 4pm on Sunday.
Glen Stoker uses the Pavilion to investigate levels of Political commitment to urban regeneration.
Carl Gent aims to consult the public on his campaign to Twin Stoke-on-Trent with a distant cosmic body.
Celine Siani Djiakoua’s participatory piece asks park users to consider poignant questions, and connects to the multi-cultural side of the Park.
Nickie Brown’s signs aim to directly address the public, testing reactions and responses to requests and orders.
Marc Tittensor’s stick men delight and amuse, and reference the Park as a destination for Play.
Chris Parkes has created a series of sculptural objects that reference the furry and feathered inhabitants of the Park.
Michael Branthwaite’s sculptural piece provides visual sensation through colour and form.
Ben Faga’s performances and installations bring animals from around the world into the Park.
Brian Holdcroft draws a physical line that denotes the body passing through space and across time, when moving through this historic site.
Andrew Jackson will negotiate chance meetings with park users, aiming to capture these moments for others to discover later.
My Dear Tom is a mysterious and anonymous sound piece by Emmie, from a Postcard sent in 1907.

“What do you love ?” - Common Ground Commission Proposal

Proposal for Common Ground

Hanley Park is, on a multicultural point of view, one of the richest places in Stoke-on-Trent. Certainly much more than a dozen of different languages can be heard there. The Shelton area has a highly diverse community: Asian resident community, International students, European and East European migrants, asylum seekers from various countries and now families who have become residents in UK. Opposite the park is also the Cauldon College where a lot of foreigners go to improve their English when they first arrive in Stoke-on-Trent. This is where the idea and the first trials of one of my works started, in 2002, when I first arrived in UK, coming from France.
This piece is an interactive and progressive installation called “What do you love ?”. It consists in a circular portable mobile : from the outside, on hanging pieces of papers, people can read what answers have been given to the questions* and from the inside, they can individually write their own answers.
For Common Ground, I would like to invite the park users to take part in this piece in their own language but I also would like to start the 2nd stage of the project, which is the translation of each single text into as many languages as possible, turning each single paper into a booklet. Some of the translation could be done in collaboration with translators from the Stoke-on-Trent College (about 8 different languages).
There are two sites I am considering because of their circular shape : the bandstand or the “little feature originally from the Garden Festival 1986” (in Anna’s blog). In the bandstand, the mobile could be hung in its middle and tables and chairs arranged around it for people to do translations. The other site could be used as itself to hang the pieces of paper, covering the entrances.
There are many interesting sides to this work : the recognition of people’s different cultures, the sharing of an emotional content which is discovered as universal (for many people, the most important person is their mum), the necessity of one common language to communicate (here, it is English) …

“What do you love ?” has already been shown at :
Burslem College (2002),
Staffordshire University (2003),
New Vic Theater (2004),
Stafford Campus (2005).
*who is the most important person in your life ?
what is the most important place in your life ?
what is the most important object in your life ?
what is the most important date in your life ?
what do you love ?

work as presented in Stafford

Actual structure in Hanley Park

Proposed idea

Ema (Japan) - ex-voto (catholicism)

"Ema (絵馬?) are small wooden plaques on which Shinto worshippers write their prayers or wishes. The ema are then left hanging up at the shrine, where the kami (spirits or gods) receive them. They bear various pictures, often of animals or other Shinto imagery, and many have the word gan'i (願意), meaning "wish", written along the side. In ancient times people would donate horses to the shrines for good favor, over time this was trasferred to a wooden plaque with a picture of a horse, and later still to the various wooden plaques sold today for the same purpose. Ema are sold for various wishes. Common reasons for buying a plaque are for success in work or on exams, marital bliss, to have children, and health. Some shrines specialize in certain types of these plaques, and the larger shrines may offer more than one. Sales of ema help support the shrine financially.
At some shrines, such as Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, one can find ema in many languages, as tourists leave their own wishes and prayers."

In Kobe, Japan :

Other similar examples :

"An ex-voto is a votive offering to a saint or divinity. It is given in fulfillment of a vow (hence the Latin term, short for ex voto suscepto, "from the vow made") or in gratitude or devotion. Ex-votos are placed in a church or chapel where the worshipper seeks grace or wishes to give thanks. The destinations of pilgrimages often include shrines decorated with ex-votos. Ex-votos can take a wide variety of forms. They are not only intended for the helping figure, but also as a testimony to later visitors of the received help. As such they may include texts explaining a miracle attributed to the helper, or symbols such as a painted or modeled reproduction of a miraculously healed body part, or a directly related item such as a crutch given by a person formerly lame. In the church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde in Marseille, France, the site of a major local pilgrimage, the ex-votos include paintings, plaques, model boats, war medals and even football shirts given by players and supporters of Olympique de Marseille, the local team. The magnificent Lod mosaic is thought to be an ex-voto expressing gratitude for rescue from a shipwreck.[1] In a corner of the basilica of Saint Joseph's Oratory in Montreal there is a tall wall with thousands of crutches and other supports from those Brother André supposedly healed. Pope John Paul II recognized the authenticity of the miracles and beatified Brother André in 1982."

Salvador de Bahia - plastic body parts

(all images found on Internet)