Re-living Room is a developmental stage of an ongoing project exploring ideas of space and place in Stoke-on-Trent. The broader project is underpinned by the notion that a place is made up of two components; space and inhabitation.
I have been exploring areas of depopulated housing around the city, noticing characteristics of these spaces. As humans have left, unseen and unnoticed, urban plants arbitrarily move in. Single buildings are left as a sort of anti-flag, to remind us of an area’s populated past. Increasingly, these areas are ploughed and levelled, completing the process of eradication, turning once important places into spaces in waiting.
Whilst this stage of the work seeks to address the fact that such non-places are a prevalent characteristic of our city, its main purpose is to highlight the vacated nature of these spaces. What happens when we depopulate and demolish the houses and homes which inhabitated these spaces? What happens to the combined memories and occurences when the buildings that housed them are pulled down?
Our home spaces, which are curated almost involuntarily, or without us thinking in that way, grow organically, as new acquisitions are added, in the form of trinkets and ornaments, bought, found or given or framed family snapshots, As each new thing is introduced, it becomes the focus for our attention for a while, until, gradually, that focus fades, and the thing becomes a part of the fabric of the room. Each acquisition has a meaning or an attached memory. In this way, the space evolves. The house becomes more than a structure made up of its component parts. It becomes a store, a collection of evidence of presence and familial histories. They become a place to display them, resembling a personal museum or gallery.
Over the next two weeks, I will be building and installing a living room in the window exhibiting space of AirSpace Gallery, in response to these emptied spaces, adding to the installation a new piece or two each day, until the room is complete. At the end of the period, the installation will exist, untouched, for one day, before, in a mirror of the actual situation, being dismantled piece by piece.
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