WALWORTH SOUND WALK
In May 2019 I was invited, by the Walworth Community Garden Network, to create a site-specific work for the Chelsea Fringe (2019). The Fringe is a response to the Chelsea Flower Show an annual event aimed at affluent landowners - it begs the question how much does an individual need to own privately? What is sufficient? Where is the balance between public and private wealth? I chose to run a sound walk. I wanted to tap into the experiences of people who are not normally represented in the dominant narratives of the city.
18 people walked in silence, for 45 minutes, through the community gardens and estates of West Walworth. We used Michael Chion’s (1991), three ways of listening, to identify the sounds we know, to describe the quality of the sounds and to consider their meaning. I recorded the sounds and the discussion and poems the walk generated. The resulting works take inspiration from the people I met and the plants in the gardens. To hear the Walworth Soundscape and a podcast on sound walking go to the sound walk section.
CURRENCY OF CARE
This ongoing project focuses on the transactional nature of care between individuals and their environment. We care and are nourished by people but also by our creativity and the natural world. Emotional support can be exchanged and reciprocated at a later date. Care is also a political act, as Audre Lorde (1984) wrote “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” My starting points are the care maps created by my peers at Middlesex University. Family dominate the maps and the table and plates reflect shared meals. The onion is universal to all cooking and the image of concentric circles reflects the extended family.
THE ‘GHOST OF SIR JOHN SOANE’
This site-specific work was created for St John’s Church, Bethnal Green. It was built by the famous architect Sir John Soane between 1826 and 1828, the only one commissioned for a poor parish by the church authorities. It failed to attract any match funding from wealthy donors so the final design was scaled back. The church was badly damaged by fire during WW2 and used as a temporary morgue during the blitz. I projected a life size ‘ghost of Sir John’ in the church and crypt and created an installation of Sir John’s signature, in candles, in the belfry.
THE LIST, AUGUST 2017
The contrast between the hospitality people proffer on an individual level and the hostility we demonstrate at a national level has always surprised me. The List documents the 34,361 refugees and migrants who have died due to the restrictive policies of "Fortress Europe" in the period 1992-2018. The boats and other works in this installation are made from a printed version of The List published in The Guardian Newspaper in 2018. I constructed ‘floatable’ paper boats to reflect the fragile lives and risks people are forced to take. Some are simply folded, the larger ones are stitched or stuck together by brown tape, all easily disintegrate. In August 2017, 183 people died trying to get into Europe. The beads and the wire/fabric boat reflect the origin and proportions of refugees who died that month. The works are a comment on the fragility of life, the lottery of where we are born and the ease with which we, in Europe, put aside these difficult issues.
In 7-day recycle, I documented my household recycling, compost and un-recyclable waste for 7-days, to make visible the amount of packaging accumulating in just one household each week. I used this to create a series of works which tell stories; about the inhabitants and visitors that week. I drew on Morandi’s beautiful still life paintings to consider how to place the materials and on the early collages of cubists, Braque and Picasso to create the works.