Tag Archives: Pavements

Cracks in the Pavement…

What a week… I’ve been trying all week to make some sense of my Structure and the City project and by yesterday was ready to climb into the nearest crack in the pavement as that’s where it seemed to be heading nowhere. However, after a good session with Scott in the printshop and some different analysis of my visual research material, I think I may have rescued it. I’m posting this here just because I need to record it somewhere. I don’t expect anyone to read it or comment – but feel free to do so if you wish! All feedback is appreciated.

So the visual analysis bit first… I tried classifying my images of the pavement into various typologies… What is it I was seeing?

I found grids…      I found dots…    I found rectangles…   I found arrows… 

and I found weird hieroglyphics that I had become somewhat obsessed with while out researching… 

But once I’d laid it all out on the table, I struggled to find a thread, a connection or something that would make a vaguely interesting publication…

Then it hit me… What I realised about the surface of our city is it’s a cesspit… Money and attention is lavished on the vertical – the buildings, the expensive advertising, signage etc – but when it comes to what’s under our feet it’s treated with no respect.

Paving slabs are cracked, we cover it gum… and those hieroglyphics I’d become obsessed about are an eyesore – while they serve some purpose (to notify those who dig up the roads where the pipes are – although that doesn’t seem to stop burst water mains) – they still seem to be there long after the work is done, or maybe the work just never gets done…

However, it’s not all gloomy… I found some bright spots in my research and this is what the publication will be about: that, while most of the city’s surface is a mess, there are some examples of where it is being used to enhance the environment in both an aesthetic and functional way. The two examples I will use are:

The new layouts of Exhibition Road  and Oxford Circus 

And Ben Wilson, the chewing gum artist who I was lucky enough to track working in a secret location yesterday….

And where did Tony in the printshop help? Well, I took a dummy to him yesterday that I’d made of the publication – the content was slightly different from how I know envisage it. I’d included colour images and a fancy throw-out (folding out centrefold) as a “big reveal”. I learned more about paper size, page layout and the economics of printing in half an hour with Tony than I could image I would. He also gave me some great ideas about the cover and how that would impact on the design.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Structure and the City – Look at your feet!

I came to Friday’s session with a clear idea of my area of research, only for Tony to suggest a bunch of other great ideas to all of us… Numbering the City was what he suggested to me, and that sent my mind thinking along many different lines – post codes, bus routes, house numbers, floor numbers, buildings named by numbers (No. 1 London, for example) – but I still kept coming back to my first thought, which I hope I communicated to you all on Friday…

My premise is this… we are told to “look up” to see the unexpected (click on the image)…

… and to look ahead or suffer the consequences…

… but what do we learn from looking down?

There is communication at surface level throughout the city, some of which serves a useful purpose…

… and some of which serves no purpose at all…

I’d like to explore communication in the city on this horizontal plane to see what there is and how effective it is… A secondary question that I hope my research might uncover is how much can we tell about where we are from looking down?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized