Related Art Projects
I have just asked Beaconsfield to send me something about their project Woodwork in 1993. I had not witnessed the work, but had only read about the project several years later, as I had been living in Amsterdam at the time. I remember reading Julian Stallabrass¹s essay* was immensely exciting to me, articulating the issues and ideas of theat time and which seem equally pertinent ten years on. Just hearing about what the artists been done altered my perceptions of the place and I had looked at the scrubby little park I traversed almost every day with new eyes.
The essay has certainly informed my own position in relation to questions of site specificity and art, and a certain critical stance towards historical materialŠThe essay has fed into my own dialogues with questions of audiences for art, art¹s potential effects outside the gallery. The essay investigates ideas and attitudes towards the history of the place, as well as telling a lot of that history and providing a rich source of quotations and images. I found the angle of approach to the historical materials, many of which are stored in the Lambeth Archives at The Minet Library, close to my own.
A Place of Pleasure: Woodwork, Vauxhall Spring gardens and Making Audiences for Art, discusses works commissioned by Nosepaint and created with a collective process by Bruce Gilchrist, Claire Palmier, Naomi Siderfin, David Crawforth, Ben Hillwood- Harris, Andre Stitt, Simon Whitehead, Susanne Thomas, Ian Hinchcliffe, Roland MillerŠ among others. The book is called Occupational Hazard, Critical Writing on Recent British Art, ed.s Duncan McCorquodale, Naomi Siderfin and Julian Stallabrass, published by Black Dog Publishing. ISBN 0952177382.
Excerpts from Woodwork pubicity:
“Nosepaint presents WOODWORK – an experiment in collaboration – May 23-29 1993…Following precedents set over 200 years ago there will be continuous events in Spring Gardens and also in Vauxhall Underground Station…solo and ensemble performances, illuminations underground, live music and audio work, pyrotechnics, installations with bushes, flowers, balloons and photographs. Woodwork pays tribute to the present community in Vauxhall and its multi-faceted past.”
I know less about but have recently been told about a piece involving Platform in 1989 part of which actually took place on Vauxhall Cross. James Marriot tells me that he and others, (John J tells me it was in a van) camped in the traffic junction for a couple of weeks, that it was hell, impossible to sleep, the air so dirty Š. I am directed to the website where I find some information but long to hear the details of what it was really like to camp thereŠMaybe I know only too well, sleeping in a flat on the main North South road that passes through. They also camped in places in Wandsworth, Docklands, The City. Apparently the tent was made of steel and canvas and had a wooden floor. Hope to record a chat reminiscing about this project.
Extract from http://www.platformlondon.org/projects.htm
Tree of Life, City of Life, The Tent Project, 1989
A ten-week tent project in which artists lived, ate and slept in five locations along the southern banks of inner London’s Thames.
This ‘listening project’ aimed at diagnosing the state of the biological metabolism of a section of the city : its peoples, activities, flora and fauna. The results were exhibited in the Royal Festival Hall, London, as part of Common Ground’s ‘Tree of Life’ project.
Pete Durgerian – video, Teresa Hayter – writer, Herbert Girardet – writer and broadcaster, John Jordan, Rodney Mace – historian, James Marriott, Ana Sarginson
There is another thing [the doorbell rings and I hear our Italian visitor arrive – Luca]. I have always been impressed, disturbed, unable to forget something I heard at a talk by Gustav Metzger about a proposal he has about Š. Pollution, the holocaust, apathy. About what I am not entirely sure, but I remember it in relation to car pollution. I do not know the title of the proposal and will endeavour to find outŠI remember him talking about a series of cars with the exhaust pipes lined up and connected to a pipe from which the exhausts would collectively exhale, output, exhude. I havbe a dim memory of a n image, something looking like a trolly park in a supermarket car park, a row of cars under a Perspex roof with Perspex pipes connecting all th eexhausts and a simple single output at one endŠ But he said this other thing, I could not forget, that the situation we live with today in the city is one where we willingly agree to suck in those exhaust fumes, he compared our denial of this self-poisoning, our dumb acceptance of it, to the holocaust and attitude to the gas chambers, a kind of terrible apathy at our fate, our place in actively shaping the future of our environment and of our own lives.
I then I think how all these things have connected in my mind over a long period of timeŠ I wonder can we mention that the piece has been brewing for several years, fermenting even. And I would like to make reference to a previous action – a series of flyposters around the area, on which was an aerial image of the Vauxhall cross and it was covered in trees, by using photoshop in a clearly transparent way, cutting and pasting trees densely onto every available footway and traffic island, pavement and bollard edge. On the poster was written makevauxhallcrossaforest , and an email address. We pasted them up late one Saturday night. People responded and I then replied. They wanted to know if there was a campaign going on? Where the main offices were? I had no answers and crumpled a bit , then hopelessly lost all record of the emails. The posters stayed up for ages. Years later one appeared in another artist, Rachel McCowat Taylor¹s walking tour Occasional Sights Tours 2003, part of launch for Occasional Sights by myself and worked on between 2000-3 with the irreplaceable input of friend Neil Chapman. It was published by The Photographers Gallery and can be purchased there.