Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Ideas so far for Oxford Paris project

Hi Suzy,
These are the ideas we discussed for the exhibitions at Ovada and in a Paris gallery. I hope this is a good representation of our conversation but you can add/edit. I expect (and hope!) the work will evolve and change from this but it is really important to have starting points

1 Postcards. We are working with postcards of Oxford and Paris, editing them and adding to them to reflect aspects of these cities that are not usually celebrated or used to define the city to outsiders. Additions include stitch, collage, painting and relief. These will be put together as a wall installation.

2 Suspended construction. This is based directly on the ring roads. The construction will be made from fabric and wooden batons, making the impressive engineered road systems into something homely and a bit ‘wobbly’. We will create both the Paris and Oxford ring roads to scale.
We plan to make paintings from objects and spaces that we photograph whilst exploring the outsides of the city. These will be placed around the gallery in relation to the suspended construction, creating a sense of the more intimate forgotten elements of the spaces the Périphérique passes through.
At Ovada this would also connect the different spaces in the gallery. The downstairs area of Ovada is divided into a rear gallery, reception area and front ‘shop window’ space.
We will also explore the possibility of creating a scale version of the old Oxford city wall, and mapping the various moves outwards of the Paris city wall, the Périphérique being located on the latest one.

3 Collections. We are doing lots of walking around the cities as part of this project and are collecting objects we find during these walks. We will exchange the Oxford and Paris objects, and make paintings of views/finds in the other city on each set of objects (paintings from Paris on the Oxford objects and paintings from Oxford on the Paris objects). These will be displayed in Oxford and in Paris. Here is an addition we haven’t discussed so let me know what you think: During the exhibitions we could organize a series of walks to return objects to the places we found them. This idea a bit influenced by Hilary Jack who mends and restores objects she finds and then returns them to the place she found them. I think painting on rubbish which then gives the rubbish value, but then returning them so that this is lost and they cannot be valued as objects could be quite interesting. They then become a memory and something that is documented.

4 Community project. Following on from postcards work we will set up workshops with elderly people and create postcards based on their photos – either from their personal albums or photos they take as part of the project. These will be selected and formatted into postcards that reflect residential suburbs and estates around the city. An edition of cards will be produced to sell at the gallery.
There is a precedent for making ‘local’ postcards in Oxford. A Victorian photographer - Henry Taunt – was based in Oxford and published many postcards of streets in residential areas of the city. You can see a few on-line at
Many are held at the public record office so I will try and get access to them. It would be good to use Henry Taunts images to inform the workshops and contextualise what we are doing. Also the postcards on the caravan gallery’s site have a subversive and playful approach which is relevant to what we’re doing.

5 Gateways. Bridges and underpasses to cross ring roads are the modern equivalent of gates in the old city wall. We will document the gateways to Oxford and Paris and put these images together in either one or two artists books.

6 Documenting journeys. We will find a way of documenting all the journeys we have made as part of our research for this project. This is partially happening via the blog and flickr, but we will also map our journeys.

There are lots of possibilities to think about, and no doubt they will evolve or some may be discarded in the process of making, but this is a starting point.

If this sounds different to what we spoke about the other night please add to this or change it!

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