Code 5 Residency

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

The residency started in April and will continue until the end of next year, with a break during the winter. Its main focus is about sustainabilty and 'greening' the estate. Thus far it has involved getting to know the area: the people, politics and the land. It is made up of largely council and social housing having some of the last council tower blocks to be built. 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. I have created a few pieces of work: '2 'ours', 'What if?' and 'A Circle of Life' that are ongoing and evolving.

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.

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

This patch of grass, that will continue to change, has been left uncut since June. It marks a path where the tower casts a shadow between the hours of 12pm and 2pm. It is about resting our bodies (in some countries 12-2 being time for a siesta) and resting the land and what happens when we do that and how that might have some bearing on how we are sustained. One of the earliest conversations I had with some of the older ladies on the estate around 'what sustains us' was the fact that tablets and medication sustained them. By leaving the grass to grow, the growth of other plants eg dandelion, buttercup, clover and plantain that are usually mowed down, has occured. These plants are traditional and still vital sources of ingredients in our healing drugs. For example, current research is investigating how the dandelion could be used in the treatment for AIDS.

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

The grass is the patch of ‘sundial’. The circle is the clock. Or is it? In binary, the number 2 is represented as ’10’ – the ticking clock that now defines our time is ruled by the computer that operates in binary: on off switches. Or perhaps it is the station sign for the London Underground – that place where we wait and arrive or depart. Or perhaps it’s just a random fence, like a few other random fences that are difficult to understand why exactly they are there.

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, and 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, such an unusal thing in the city and several people recalled memories of their childhoods on farms. What was written has been collated into a book that will be available to view on the 29th September and copies may be available for sale. If you are interested in one, please email me.

A Circle of Life
Sunflower circle
Between the MUGA 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 (many of which didn't survive) but this circle, that had more care and attention, did survive. The process reminded me of how much care plants need in the early days of their life, sometimes daily vigilance. A residency that is only 2.5days a week doesn't really allow for this, but these survived, as the plants were cared for by others as well as myself. It was intended for bees and butterflys and hopefully there'll be seeds left for people too.