Our cities are in a constant state of flux with decay and renewal occurring simultaneously; communities are dispersed and histories are lost. Memorial Lines records traces of past lives during an extensive period of regeneration, silently reflecting on inhabitants in their absence.
The appearance of markings on the pavement heralds the end of a building’s life. The mysterious, coloured glyphs become a code for the dismantling of a residential block; bringing quiet and replacing the sounds of life that once echoed the streets of the estate.
The blocking of openings becomes a symbolic act, sealing the homes from the outside world and their fate as condemned. These images highlight the disjunct between the utopian ideal pursued by planners of housing projects in the 60s and 70s and their dystopian and bleak transformation in just over half a century.
While there is a sense of ‘an end of an era’ in these images, my practice also looks forward to the replacement of these buildings. For example;The Addison Act Centenary sculpture I created from the carpenters work benches commemorates the Durham and Gloucester House communities and looks forward to another 100 years of social housing. The woodblocks bear the cuts of creation for these new homes. Negative prints I have taken from these (‘Constellation I’) explore the now untraceable connections of time and place in construction. Cut lines become traces – imaginary threads connecting the old and new communities. Memorial lines lost in space. Contrasting to these are the marks of destruction on the dust sheet (‘Constellation II). The sheet becomes a canvas being continually reworked concealing the demolition within.
The crushed rubble (‘Dust to Dust’) is reused in the new foundations forming an urban stratum of lost homes and memories in the city’s continuum of construction and destruction.