1 September 2005

sense of place : place of sense, 2005

A series of organised coach excursions over four weekends around five heritage sites in Lincolnshire. Five artists were commissioned to make temporary artworks in response to asense of place. At the Reading Room & Chapel, five artists were commissioned to produce art works which engaged with one of the five senses, place of sense.

sense of place Phyllida Barlow, Simon Faithfull, Roxy Walsh, Gerard Williams, Doug Fishbone
place of sense Gareth Brookes, Colin Greensmith, Emma Halliday, Helen de Main, Tokuko Takeshita

Curated by John Plowman

Sense of place
Phyllida Barlow
The Engine Room, The Maltings, Sleaford

In 1900, Sleaford was ideal for a malting complex of this scale because of its rural environment; barley fields, a seasonal workforce, plentiful water from the Artesian well and good rail links for transportation. The site was purchased by Bass Ratcliff & Greeton Ltd in 1901, construction took six years and by 1907 it could produce 60,000 quarters of malt per season. Production declined after the Second World War, ceasing in 1959. In 1973, it was purchased by GW Padley Ltd for chicken rearing and vegetable processing. Grade II listed in 1974, the building was damaged in 1976 by severe fire. At the time of this project, plans were to transform the complex into housing, leisure and retail facilities.

The grandiose industrial architecture of the former Bass malthouse at The Maltings in Sleaford is more reminiscent of a church hall than of the machine shed that serviced the whole site. The space resonates with long since past activities, but does not reveal what they may have been. Barlow’s sculptures used the sense of what may have been the remains of some fairground object, festivities, things stacked and left behind, reminders of former uses, actual and imagined.

Simon Faithfull
Parallel Lines
The Coach Journey

Parallel Lines
Faithfull created a new work and presented two existing works concerned with travel and absence. Parallel Lines confused two simultaneous journeys. Visitors on the Beacon bus looked out onto the Lincolnshire countryside through windows covered with drawings sent from a journey happening on the other side of Europe. Travelling from Berlin to Helsinki and then on to north of Finland (in search of the Northern Lights), Faithfull made one drawing for each of Beacon’s days. Using a Palm-Pilot as a crude sketchpad, Faithfull transmitted these drawings back to Lincolnshire where they were transferred onto the outside of the coach’s windows (using the standard sign-shop technique of vinyl transfer). As the drawings accumulated they reinforced the state of disorientation and flux that an increasingly mobile world produces.

Orbital no.1
Originally commissioned by Artsway, Orbital no.1 combined three circular journeys around London into a single hypnotic image. Recorded in real time, the journeys around the M25, the North and South Circulars and the Circle Line created a contemporary vision of Dante’s concentric circles of heaven or hell. At odds with the countryside outside the windows, the film displayed on the coach’s video screens created a map defined by the gravitational pull of the centre, offering a glimpse of the dizzying energy states that define the contemporary city.

The Antarctic Diaries
Using the coach’s stereo system, The Antarctic Diaries re-lived a journey made from the Falkland Islands to the ice-cliffs of Antarctica. Narrated by the dehumanised, synthetic voice of the Macintosh laptop on which they were written, The Antarctic Diaries tried to describe an increasingly surreal world beyond human habitation.

Roxy Walsh
Signature Quilt 2005
The Manor Farmhouse, Helpringham

Walsh displayed a Signature Quilt passed down through her grandmother’s family. Made in 1896 in rural County Antrim, it was shown at Manor Farmhouse, Helpringham, as a record of one community to be read in the context of another. The quilt had groupings of signatures from families, church pews and bazaar stall-holders, providing a document of a community and its structure. Walsh produced a publication with an image of the quilt and a series of short texts to accompany the work. She was inspired to create the piece because of the physical similarity of the Farmhouse to her grandmother’s childhood home.

Gerard Williams
The Tower, South Kyme

The tower is a four storeyed battlemented keep, approximately 77 ft in height and built in ashlar dressed oolitic Ancaster limestone. It is the remains of a moated fortified manor house or ‘castle’, built by Gilbert de Umfraville, Earl of Angus in the 1350s as a flamboyant status symbol. It probably had two towers and another two storey building adjoining the present tower. The only invasion the ‘castle’ experienced was by an inquisitive bullock in 1946 which climbed the 108 steps of the narrow spiral staircase to the top. Villagers struggled to get the bullock down, eventually frightening him down backwards.

Williams’ intervention at South Kyme Tower contradicted visitors’ expectations of place and architectural space at this medieval building.

Doug Fishbone
Village Hall, Ashby de la Launde

The Village Hall was built during the Great Depression by Lord Garvagh, the then owner of Ashby Hall, as a way of keeping his staff employed, as he felt great loyalty towards them. The building was made to a specific shape and height to become a badminton court for Garvagh’s children, set just off the estate road alongside the lake. During the war RAF and RCAF squadrons, based at RAF Digby, used Ashby Hall as their officer’s mess and the badminton court became a parachute packing room. The Garvagh family moved out before the start of the war and eventually disposed of their estate many years later, the building being dismantled and donated to the village. Over the years it has suffered from fire damage and threats of closure, yet has continued to be an essential part of the small village community. In the 1970s the car park was purchased and the extension added. However, the year preceding this project, it suffered subsidence and the extension was demolished. Renovation work on the building had not been completed at the time of this project.

Doug Fishbone brought his bizarre style of performance art to the village hall of Ashby de la Launde. In an unusual ramble on the state of the world, inspired by comedians from his native New York, Fishbone used images downloaded from the internet to illustrate a lecture on everything from globalization and obesity to monkeys smoking cigarettes. A brief ride through the warped mind of the artist, the performances were both amusing and thought-provoking, using humor to investigate some of the more unseemly elements of contemporary life.

place of sense
At the Reading Room & Chapel, Wellingore

The Chapel was built in 1887, on land donated by the Allwood family of Rose Cottage, a Methodist family of carriers. The Reading Room was added in 1925, as the Sunday School. In the 1950s, the Allwoods claimed to see flying saucers from the window of Rose Cottage which made local headline news. During the 1980s, Jane Eaglen, who became an established opera singer, sang in the Wellingore Chapel annually with the Central Methodist Choir. Deconsecrated in 1993, the Reading Room was used as a business premises. Bought in 1999 from the receivers by the Plowman family, it has been converted into a home and studio.

Gareth Brookes
Untitled etching machine

The etching machine consisted of a postcard, the central image of which had been peirced by hundreds of pins, suspended by elastic bands over a grounded etching plate. The viewer was invited to play with the machine, thier gestures bringing the pins into contact with the etching ground generating an image which could later be editioned. The intention of the piece was to engage the operator of the etching machine in a process where making and viewing became indivisible.

Colin Greensmith
Sunday, Sunday 2005

The coefficient of this sound piece was historiographical and based around the assigned site for ‘place of sense’ and the ‘Sunday School’ function of The Reading Room and Chapel. The boxes, being reminiscent of collection boxes, were interactive for the spectator and gave alternative sounds of children playing with sticks on railings and card in bike wheels, and the reading and discussion of bible stores.

Emma Halliday
Anxiety Archives, 2005

This was a dynamic project that focused on secular confession and catharthis. The audience were invited to write their confessions on bits of edible paper. The confessions were then baked into bread which was offered to the audience. The monotonous taste of bread, containing tiny rice paper confessions, contrasted with the psychological digestion of the disclosed information and its authorship. Participants ate and contributed shared concerns, creating connections between anonymous individuals.

Helen de Main

A scaled model of the Reading Room with scaffolding added to it, was created out of paper and card. Viewers encountered a live video image of this projected on the wall as they entered the building, altering the image of what they had just seen in reality but also suggesting that the building might be being redeveloped.

Tokuko Takeshita
Obsession’s obsession

Using perfume in a space connects the primitive obsession with smell to a site that exists for the visual. Perfume originally had a medical function. The aromas used in this installation had been known for a long time in Egypt and Tibet, etc. One side is the ‘top note’, the other is the ‘base note’, and were magical substances, which worked at different speeds. The strength of the perfumes changed with the audience member's standpoint. The perfumes floated slightly throughout the whole space and in the mind. The audience may have been reminded of something smelled before. They might think of a particular memory. The fragrance differed depending on the person’s pH balance. Perfumes (smells) are strongly linked to personal memories, just like music.

sense of place : place of sense was made possible with the support of the partners below