Brindley Village collaboration 2016-2018
My my interest in working with this location has fed various ideas, the most recent being the acetate ‘ghost buildings’ pieces exhibited at New Art Gallery Walsall and currently on display at South Staffs College:
The work has taken a different turn in recent months after meeting a former resident of the mining village and being shown her archive of photographs plus a DVD that has been made about the location. This has led me to explore the aspect of how the original war hospital huts became residences for a community of mining families; these are the people to whom the wreaths in the trees are dedicated.
I have also been fortunate to meet others who have an interest in the area and have been given access to anecdote and poetry written by Jim Bullock, a former resident, as well as maps of the site.
In terms of developing a response I am still interested in the contrast between what is left as a residual memory of the village (pathways, fence posts, footings, all overgrown and only partly visible) and the photographic evidence of the site when it existed. I am still thinking through how to make work that can be left at the site, but in a non-invasive way.
My initial work has been to work on the digital images of the buildings and people who used them; I like the idea that these photographs capture a moment now lost as the physical buildings are no longer there, so I have been using Procreate to experiment with the process of adding to an old photograph and then starting to erode it again.
The next step in developing this idea will be to look at how these fragments can be created in a way that will interact with the forest that now exists where the village once was. I have started to explore using ice casts to represent the huts that were once there.
In 2018 this project will become part of an exhibition and archive of Brindley Village at the Museum of Cannock Chase and so the final stage of this work will be to gather archive photographs from residents of the village and place these back at their original locations through digital manipulation and site specific pieces of work which will be documented photographically. Watch this space for more developments!