Code 5 Residency

Thornton Estate, Hull – April 2016 and September 2017 (Goodwin Development Trust Artist in Residence)

The focus was about sustainability and 'greening' the estate of Thornton. It involved getting to know the area: the people, politics and the land. It sits between the railway station, the city and industry next to the Humber and has been interesting exploring what sustainability and 'green' means to the local people. Although the works listed below seem discrete they overlapped, interweaved and developed in ways that are difficult to describe here. Much of the focus was about creating space and time for conversation about life with the works requiring regular presence and visibility that enabled those conversations to take place.

Arbour
Willow, fabric, sunflowers, mint tea, straw bales, sound installation
'And More', 20 Goodwin Parade, Walker Street, Hull

A space within a space, a space that takes you somewhere else. This constructed Yurt-like structure in a shop on Goodwin Parade, was named by a local resident in its early stages of construction when it was just a willow structure.
As it took form
it became
a resting place
and a shelter

arbour
‘a shady garden alcove with the sides and roof formed by trees or climbing plants trained over a framework.’

‘arbour
‘a place on the coast where ships may moor in shelter, especially one protected from rough water by piers, jetties, and other artificial structures.’

2 'ours
Grass (and other plants) uncut
Holy Apostles lawn, Walker Street, Hull

A patch of grass that was left uncut between April 2016 - April 2017. It marked a path where the Church tower cast a shadow between the hours of 12pm and 2pm in the summer months. The idea was to draw attention to good health and being sustained by nature. The 2 hours related to midday rest (in some countries called a siesta) and how that can be beneficial for life. It provided a visual connection between rest and growth: leaving the land to rest enabled the growth of other plants eg dandelion, buttercup, clover and plantain that were usually mowed down. These plants, although often regarded as ‘weeds’, contain the ingredients that are used in our healing drugs. Current research is investigating how the dandelion can be used in the treatment for AIDS. Perhaps the irony is that good rest can keep us healthier so that we have less need of the drugs!

What time do you call this?
Grass with fencing
Holy Apostles lawn, Walker Street, Hull

For one day part of the grass ‘2 ‘ours’ was enclosed in a circle of a mass produced fence in 12 parts. It hints at changes that have occurred in our world about time and the challenges we have in integrating them. The change from seasonal rhythms dictated by the sun to mechanised clock time and the binary ‘ticking’ of the computer.

The circle: Is it a clock? Is it the sun or the moon? Is it a ‘0’ over placing the uncut grass ‘1’: the binary number 2? (2 written in binary is 10)
Is it the sign for the London Underground – that place where we wait to arrive or depart at a time set by an external force?

Or perhaps it’s just a random fence, like a few other random fences: who knows why it’s there?! (There are a few around Thornton.)

9 to 5
A flick book

Created from photographs of the shadow of the tower passing over the grass. It hints at the repetitive nature of the movement of the sun and the repetitive nature of a 'working' day.

Summer Sun Clock
Reverse graffiti
Goodwin Parade, Hull

A summer sundial was washed into the pavement along with bees and butterflies. It was set so that standing on the footprints in August / September, it would be possible to tell the time.

What if?
A project and a book
Goodwin Parade, Hull

This project involved straw bale seats with a wooden palette table, on which was placed a typewriter. Passers by were invited to type a response to 'what if?' (or anything else they wanted) to share their dreams and realities of life. The invitation was mainly in the form of a written letter on the table. Groups of people would sit down together (of all different ages and backgrounds) and type various things. The straw bales created a huge talking point and several people recalled memories of their childhoods on farms. The project continued at the celebration in 2016 and during the summer of 2017. What was written has been collated into a book.

Order a copy of the book

A Circle of Life
Sunflower circle
Between the MUGA (multi use games area) and Villa Garden Allotments, Walker Street, Hull.

This piece began relatively early on in the residency after I obtained a large bagful of seeds from a local organic farmer. Some of the seeds were planted around the estate, some in this circle. The circle suggests the sun and the circle of life. The sunflowers became part of the central part of 'Arbour', drying there before the seeds were collected. The collected seeds were distributed locally in 2017 and some were planted in the barley straw bale planters to carry on the circle of life...

Here We are
Barley Straw Bale Planters
Goodwin Parade, Walker Street, Hull.

These planters were constructed and had plants growing in them in 2017. They had a succession of edible plants: fruit, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers that were available for anyone to pick. A small community developed around them and people helped themselves to the produce. Things were constructed for them by local people using recycled materials and inspired one local gentleman to make hanging threads of the butterflies that he then sold and raised money for the local hospice.