Objects and structures that once played a part in the history of the town are left to decay. Their history is forgotten. Roller skating rinks, steel works, bridges all have stories to tell.
Hyde + Hyde in Swansea are to build models and propose interventions that can resuscitate some of the bridges that once linked the city to the sea, celebrating their past not just as ‘heritage’ but as a living part of the city.
In Llandudno a collaboration between Cai Thomas and Margot Catlin will use the memories of a roller skating rink that later became a theatre to create a new dance that links the memories of past dances to the present. While Carwyn Evans will make us see the shelters on the promenade with fresh eyes.
In Ebbw Vale the remains and memories of the steel works become the focus of a whole host of events.
In your own area is there a gate, a building, a pathway that holds part of the collective memory of the place. Could you or your group or class propose ways of both celebrating it’s past and making it part of the present? Photographs and drawings recording the structure in detail, then built into a collage of images could draw other’s attention to the richness of a now ignored building.
Once a class of young children was let loose with cameras to photograph an old building. Each had a word to focus their looking and recording; looking through (through chinks and window frames), looking down (at floors and the marks and patterns of long forgotten lino and feet), looking up (at the remains of cornices and drain pies) looking behind (the inside of cupboards and the shadows of pictures and mirrors). No-one who saw the finished exhibition ever looked at the building in the same way.
Taking on the task of recording the good, the bad and the ugly to be found in a structure or space could produce some even more surprising results. Not least the arguments about the difference in visual terms between bad and ugly!
Is there something that is now closed up that could be opened or given a series of spy-holes through which you could glimpse other worlds? Buildings will see the future as well as a past.
Almost every town has houses, sheds, lanes that have been abandoned and no one seems to know why. Could you create a series of alternative histories of the place, in fragments of conversation and sounds? Would it be possible play the resulting sound-scapes through a speaker hidden in the place or from behind a collage of images of the structure?
The plane draws our attention to the views of our square mile or of just one structure that only the birds see – from the air. The images from Google Earth and other bird’s-eye views could start a whole new appreciation of the spaces, gaps, connections around us. Try tracing on a printout the paths and streets that have vanished since your youth. Do patterns develop? How are the children’s journeys now different from fifty sixty a century ago.What patterns emerge when the two are superimposed?