Sunday, 29 June 2008

re cowley works bridleway

Dear Suzy,
It does seem odd that BMW prohibited photos of the bridleway. I expect the sign was fairly recent and due to the media attention surrounding the closing of the path. I took lots of photos into the other side of the BMW plant when I walked along Transport Way – there were no signs to stop me there. Perhaps I should ring up the contact number they gave and ask about this?! BTW they also had CCTV along the path. It does seem they have been anticipating trouble.

As for sitting on the fence – with the kind of material we're working with there are so many possibilities for getting involved in local politics! I'm not sure whether I'd want to deviate into getting tied up with local campaigns, but I am interested in stories like this and would like to know more.

It would be good to think that the work we make might play a part in influencing ideas about the areas of the city that we have been looking at. In a sense, just walking in these areas near the ring road makes a comment. Driving has a distancing effect, and I'm finding that the process of walking in areas that I normally see from the car window is changing my relationship with them. I am reminded of a section in Merlin Coverley's book 'Psychogeography' where he talks about the comparison de Certeau makes between those who see the city from above (the voyeurs) and the walker at street level. Coverley says 'the simple act of walking can take on a subversive hue, abolishing the distancing and voyeuristic perspective of those who view the city from above.' I hope our own engagement with these (in many cases) neglected areas will draw them to the attention of others through the work we exhibit and any community projects we take part in.

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