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Allan Crescent Flats - FLAT 120 -

702 Dwellings

Nicola Atkinson Does Fly

SEE EYE 23rd - 24th March 2007

 

 

702 Dwellings work presents a vision of Abbey view in the form of miniature cardboard houses embossed with gold leaf drawings, serving as a memorial to the 702 dwellings that have been or are due to be demolished. There have been constructed and personalised by students at Woodmill High School. They will take the form of an installation in flat 120, being presented as a dwelling within a room. The idea of a house in psychoanalysis is often interpreted as being a representation of our own self.

 


702 is a difficult number to think about, yet by expressing the number in a visual way it is brought to life. This work presents the total number of dwellings being demolished as part of the regeneration process. It was originally seen as a way of engaging the young people of Abbey view in the SEE EYE project, specifically the pupils at Woodmill High School, providing an art based response to the regeneration process. Their personalization of the houses has brought about many revelations. By presenting something that is seemingly complete, and then creating a further dialogue, the project has engendered an imaginative response, with each house representing an individual and their creative potential. The Artwork can be seen as a miniature representation of the regeneration process at work.

 


The houses themselves are full of symbols. The gold leafing references the sun hitting the windows, which won’t be seen anymore, and also suggests notions of preciousness with regards to the regeneration and hopes that it will bring a new prosperity to Abbey view. The cardboard cut-outs were made from cardboard, referencing the boxes used to move out of the flats and the associated process of reallocation. The shadow of a tree (the symbol of life) also highlights the roots of the community and its’ branching out over time. The fact that this tree is bare suggests that it is going through a metaphorical winter, in anticipation of the coming spring. The crow flying over the roof of the house is a symbol of death, alluding to the changes taking place in Abbey view. The pupils augmented these themes in a creative way, responding to the ideas already present and transforming the work – through extensions on the houses, decoration, and giving them a human aspect.

 


The project has thrown up many questions. Is there a particular group to engage with, or should we try to engage with the community as a whole? Perhaps with 702 dwellings the engagement with the Woodmill High School pupils provided the most effective way of accessing the community as a whole – giving young people a forum in which to voice their aspirations, for a place and a community in which they will come of age and make their own. The process of visualizing this future, whilst addressing the ongoing processes of removal and relocation, will hopefully provide a link between those dwellings and their occupants, and the future.

 

Chris Hladowski

 

 

 

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