Last Friday we had our first Pitch In & Publish: City As Material session at the Proboscis studio, “Streetscapes”. In attendance were Giles Lane, Tim Wright, Anne Lydiat, Fred Garnett, David Jennings and myself. After some introductions and hearing participants particular interests, we started pitching, planning what we would like to see in our collaborative publication. Many ideas were inspired by personal projects, but the group soon gave birth to to some new, exciting concepts, (as well as a debate about when the first pineapple was grown in Britain) and after a brief interval of lunch to refuel, we set off to wander through the City.
From Smithfield we walked through Charterhouse Square, onto Aldersgate, and then into the Golden Lane estate. We must have resembled a tourist group; eyes skyward as the history of our surroundings was recounted by those who had tales to tell. By accident we stumbled across an unusual circular space, at odds with the towers of the estate. A haven to rest and exchange stories, we soon discovered the unusual acoustics of the circle, and formed a ring in the centre to test them. Tim recorded this unusual ritual, which you can view here, and David has also posted an audio clip, which you can listen to here.
We then headed through the Barbican, and into Postmans Park to read the plaques that form the “Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice”, poignant tributes to those that have died attempting to save others. This was an amazing place, one I had never visited before, and it served as a perfect end to our expedition.
Once back at the studio, and after numerous teas, coffees and fig rolls, we started to form our publication. We decided the brick circle in the middle of Golden Lane estate, which we deemed the “Unplace”, would be our focus – the eBook chronicling our journey there, and our experience within. Thus, the “Unbook of Disappropriation: Situated Moments From The City” was created. We liked the concept that this eBook would not just be inspired by the city, but that we would add to it as well, so we included a blank page for readers to write down their own experiences of the Unplace, then tear it out and leave it someone else. There is also a City As Material group on Flickr, and two hashtags on Twitter – one general – #cityasmaterial, and one for Streetscapes – #ddiof, so we can continue the discussion.