Code 5 Art Residency
Thornton Estate, Hull – April 2016 and September 2017 (Goodwin Development Trust)
The focus of this residency was about sustainability and ‘greening’ the estate with the local residents of Thornton, that sits close to the city centre. It took place before and during the City of Culture 2017 year in Hull and although it wasn’t one of their projects, I did get involved with several projects going on as part of the city of culture creativity.
The works listed below may seem discrete, but they overlapped and interweaved. 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.
A dominant theme was how nature sustains us, and in particular how plants are the basis for our health giving medications.
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
a resting place
and a shelter
‘a shady garden alcove with the sides and roof formed by trees or climbing plants trained over a framework.’
‘a place on the coast where ships may moor in shelter, especially one protected from rough water by piers, jetties, and other artificial structures.’
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 (redundant) Church tower cast a shadow between the hours of 12pm and 2pm in the summer months. The 2 hours related to a midday rest (in some places referred to as a siesta) and provided a visual connection between rest and growth. Leaving the land to rest enabled the growth of plants such as dandelions, buttercups, clover and plantain which, 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.
What time do you call this?
For one day part of the grass 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)
Or perhaps it’s just a random fence, like a few other random fences: who knows why it’s there?!
Summer sun clock
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 by where your shadow fell.
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 different ages and backgrounds) and type various things. The straw bales created a huge talking point and several older 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.
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. 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.
Whilst doing this residency I was also doing a diploma in Applied Permaculture. This project was written up as a design for that course and can be seen in more detail here