February 10, 2018 2:40 pm
An occasional installation project in which I mortar an mp3 device into the fabric of a structure, somewhere in the city or its outskirts. A rumination on the built environment, a discreet intervention.
This edition takes place in Miles Platting, Manchester; a nebulous terrain nudging into Ancoats, Ardwick, Clayton. A region sometimes satanic, sometimes magic. A forlorn outskirt; a seance territory. A place to which I have been magnetised time and again.
I kept coming here because I had no where else to go. Through a clump of unassuming inner city factory districts I walked, to burn out anxiety patterns and seek consolation, forming my own occult of East Manchester totems and territories, their leylines extending to Audenshaw and Ashton, sites of childhood and birth.
It seemed to offer a habitat, a place to belong. There’s an oblique but deeply felt connection and communication. Humble treasure and gleaming ruincolours, porous with industrial remnants and revenants, their supernatural transmissions still perceivable even as its terrain is changing, vanishing.
So I make my superstitious returns, Inhabitant of an internalised raggedy landscape, finding invention, transformation, reciprocity. Hear the voices of the landscape before they are scrubbed out….
Scrub falls silent
March 5th: Scrub withdraws back into the breezeblock and stone to ruminate on what was, what will be, and ready its return at an unknown time, in another landscape, to sing another song.
A rubble tower; a mini fortress. A sentinel on the shore of the wasteland. Scrub was formed of stones and breezeblock found onsite and cemented in place on a freezing February afternoon, beneath the blank overlooking windowpanes of Brunswick and Wellington Mill.
As if it had formed itself, unnoticed: the heavy stone and breezeblock edging themselves together inch by inch. The red letters pushing up through the cracks and weeds in a wilderness telekinesis. Willing itself into being to transmit a final valedictory signal before erasure. Scrub sang on for 18 days in subzero temperatures, snow and rain, its transmitter compelling strangers to emerge from who knows where, to visit this rubble-strewn outskirt, plug in and step into the seance.
What sounds were inside the breezeblock? my voice talking quietly, followed by the haunted brittle pop of previously unreleased track ‘Little Fugue’. An account of dissociation and refuge, a paean to the outskirts and nettled ground.
Scrub was a visitation; a benevolent spectre possessing the landscape, to sing awhile with the weeds and rubble in celebration of humble treasure, play and imagination. Its transmitter fell dead on March 5th for unknown reasons – its batteries died, or else fell prey to some other peril of being outdoors, exposed.
Miles Platting; fast disappears this ritual territory; and with it all the quiet moments, rainy light and luminous sensations like small gems enveloping me till I felt I was a flickering projection among the razorwire and ruincolors, part of a glowing region, a defiant raggedy badland. Now former, now receding into the land behind, the exile territories, to enter a psyche estate of revenant presences.
Scrub moves on, leaving the tower to fold back into the entropy of the landscape it was mourning and celebrating, to become broken rubble, rubbish. Yet the voices of this landscape will endure – recoverable to those with nouse, an eye for detail, a receptive antennae: Spectral continuity will outlast.
Scrub Transmission; Miles Platting: 16th February – 5th March
A selection of images from the installation site, some taken by me, some by visitors, across various dates and weather conditions during active transmission 16th February – 5th March.