Monday, February 7, 2011

Leamington Spa Visit

On Friday I got the train to Leamington Spa - a place I had never been before. I realised I had not been on the train for a while, and so really enjoyed the journey - and found myself reading a really interesting essay in The City Cultures reader, talking about the inbetween space of train travel - limboland. Something I have thought about before, and so I was pleased to find de Certeau had written critically on the subject.
I was on my way to a meeting with Nadia Wazera who works at the Royal Pump Rooms - Art gallery. They approached me last year to ask if I would do a mapping/experimental geography event as part of the Hayward Touring Curatorial Open show; Ground Level which opens this month. I was really keen to be involved, as there are some really inspirational people in the show - in particular Stephen Willats, whose work has been very important to my approach over the past few years.I decided to just get off the train and attempt to find my way to the gallery instinctively = trying to employ some of the experimental geography techniques I might use in the event. I was thinking of trying to 'feel' my way to the gallery - following a route which felt most likely to be the right one.Using this method I saw a lot of interesting architecture, but soon found myself back at the train station again, so decided to use the GPS on my phone to get me where I needed to be.I soon found the gallery and explored the streets nearby to familiarise myself with the locality - ready for my event. The event centres around the idea of negotiating a place in a new way - looking, thinking and moving differently through space. The people who come on the event will be equipped with binoculars and cameras, and will be encouraged to look up at features on buildings, and look down at patterns on floors and generally to walk about with eyes wide open, to collect the rhythms and secrets of the place.
We will aim to collect evidence of human engagement with the environment (as here with the sticker) and then represent all that we have collected in alternative travel posters of Leamington, which are almost microscopic in approach, as opposed to the more usual 'landscape' approach.
We will create the posters using collage and also decoupage, and these will be displayed in the Gallery.
My conversation with Nadia was very interesting, as we discussed our involvements in artist led spaces in our respective cities - Nadia is part of Artspace Coventry, and I am part of AirSpace Stoke-on-Trent.
We hope to arrange reciprocal visits to see how we are structured and organised in the near future, which should be very interesting.


Unknown said...

The sticker was a promo for a burlesque show held at the Assembly (the building you photographed with the orb-holding statue)

Anna Francis said...

Thanks John, great bit of local info - really liked the sticker, and figured it was the lady woth the orb from the old assembly room