KINGS CROSS RESIDENCY

by Georgina Rowlands
Tags: DOCUMENTATION, KX, RESIDENCY, THE STREET

DOCUMENTATION AND RESEARCH FOR WEEK LONG KINGS CROSS RESIDENCY PROJECT

THE STREET

'The Street' is one of the most open spaces in the entire building and holds students of all kinds who use the space socially and as part of their ordinary commute when navigating from place to place within the building. the flow of pedestrians walking through the street is in the hundreds, I was interested in the institutional presence that we feel simply walking around the building. When placing objects we are insecure of their effect and are fully aware of the potential for work to be moved and rearranged, even to be verbally rep-remanded for our effect, bulky security members stalk the premises scouring for chaotic interventions which may influence the institutions flow of working. The conceptual ideas of order and control immediately become important in this residency.

In my first intervention on the space I reflected on my reading of 'The Maze', a book documenting artist Donovan Wylie's experience within The Maze Prison in Belfast. Wylie portrays the architectural embodiment of the state’s forceful authority documenting the repeated architectural features of many of the prisons interiors. Corridors are identical and systematic, the repetition of form is a common architectural element of institutional buildings, prisons, schools and hospitals often use systematic and systematised structures of architecture and repeat furnitions and interiors, both to establish a uniform control over the area but also to create the feeling of order and control over the people within the space. The users and customers or even detainees of such sites. Relating this to the KX space, it struck me that the process of walking around the stairwells and passageways into the blocks of workshops and seminar rooms feature this same symmetrical identical architectural design. 

'A street is a public thoroughfare (usually paved) in a built environment. It is a public parcel of land adjoining buildings in an urbancontext, on which people may freely assemble, interact, and move about. A street can be as simple as a level patch of dirt, but is more often paved with a hard, durable surface such as concrete, cobblestone or brick. Portions may also be smoothed with asphalt, embedded with rails, or otherwise prepared to accommodate non-pedestrian traffic.

Originally the word "street" simply meant a paved road (Latin: "via strata"). The word "street" is still sometimes used colloquially as a synonym for "road", for example in connection with the ancient Watling Street, but city residents and urban planners draw a crucial modern distinction: a road's main function is transportation, while streets facilitate public interaction. Examples of streets include pedestrian streets, alleys, and city-centre streets too crowded for road vehicles to pass. Conversely, highways and motorways are types of roads, but few would refer to them as streets.'

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street

 

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THE CONFLICTION OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE IDENTITY

http://www.mori.art.museum/english/contents/metabolism/about/index.html

Well, in recent semesters of my social psychology classes, I am discovering that when I discuss concepts such as the "saturated self" or the "mutable self," these terms do not seem to provoke much concern or interest among members of the Millennial Generation (that is, those born between 1982 and 2002). Their "selves" may be saturated, but they don't recognize it because this has been their experience since day one. The self in flux is normative for them. Thus, my "modern" notions of what is involved in constructing a coherent self and maintaining continuity of identity in these postmodern times (and the assertion that this is an important task for each of us) may not be viewed as a worthwhile or necessarily relevant topic of study among this generation of students. Key questions I have include: How are Millennials' individual identities constructed? Might we be witnessing/experiencing significant changes in certain aspects of self-construction with the current generation of young people? Is the distinction between "private identity" and "public identity" relevant among Millennials? It is this latter question that is the primary subject of this essay.

An important characteristic of the Millennial Generation is the phenomenon of "public" (as opposed to, and maybe even in place of, "private") identity. Let's face it: Members of the Millennial Generation are typically not real familiar with solitude. The notion that privacy is a "right" that individuals should have is likely lost on the Millennial. It simply has not been the reality for members of this generation to be afforded the experience of true solitude or a sense of privacy. After all, these are young people who have been subjected to security measures in various forms and in numerous settings (schools, airports, malls). In many settings, the words, "This Area Under Constant Surveillance," are posted. We hear about both parents and youth using "webcams" to capture everyday behaviors. Furthermore, Millennials have been socialized to do things in groups. Sociologist Erving Goffman (1959) distinguished between "back stage" and "front stage." While the front stage is where one "performs" for a social "audience," the back stage is where the individual plans and prepares for the performance, hidden from the audience. For Millennials we have to wonder if the back stage truly exists. Or, is it the case that it's all front stage?

 

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Social Interaction in Public Spaces

https://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/default/files/jrf/migrated/files/2017-interactions-public-places.pdf

'While there has been extensive research into the links between antisocial behaviour and public spaces (Newman, 1972; Coleman, 1990), less has been said about the social nature of these spaces. Antisocial behaviour, however defined, is felt more acutely in urban areas, particularly more deprived urban areas (DETR, 1998; Audit Commission, 2006). Some public spaces, particularly in town centres, have also faced difficulties associated with alcohol and drug use, the homeless and other ‘undesirable’ individuals. Drawing on the recommendations of Newman (1972) and Coleman (1990) among others, attempts have been made to ‘design out’ these problems by making public spaces unwelcoming, removing seating, preventing eating and regulation to deter loitering. Yet by making public space unattractive to these groups, so it becomes unattractive to many other potential users, and the actual ‘problems’ are not resolved, merely removed at best. By contrast, policy agendas on social inclusion and social cohesion, such as the Social Exclusion Unit’s programmes on Mental Health and Young Adults with Troubled Lives, have been aimed at removing barriers to the social inclusion of some groups often considered ‘undesirable’ users of public spaces, while the programme on Excluded Older People addresses one of the major ‘invisible’ groups (ODPM, 2005a). These initiatives suggest the need for a more fundamental approach to consider the public visibility and inclusion of marginalised groups and the regulation of behaviours in contested spaces. The process carried out in this study, of observing what people do where, contributes to understanding how social interactions occur and the connections in seemingly disparate elements of the urban environment'

 

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MONUMENT IN PUBLIC SPACE

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monolith is a geological feature consisting of a single massive stone or rock, such as some mountains, or a single large piece of rock placed as, or within, a monument or building. Erosion usually exposes the geological formations, which are often made of very hard and solid metamorphic or igneous rock.

In architecture, the term has considerable overlap with megalith, which is normally used for prehistory, and may be used in the contexts ofrock-cut architecture that remains attached to solid rock, as in monolithic church, or for exceptionally large stones such as obelisks, statues, monolithic columns or large architraves, that may have been moved a considerable distance after quarrying. It may also be used of large glacial erratics moved by natural forces.

A monument is a type of structure that was explicitly created to commemorate a person or important event, or which has become important to a social group as a part of their remembrance of historic times or cultural heritage, or as an example of historic architecture. The term 'monument' is often applied to buildings or structures that are considered examples of important architectural and/or cultural heritage

Structures created for others purposes that have been made notable by their age, size or historic significance may also be regarded as monuments. This can happen because of great age and size, as in the case of the Great Wall of China, or because an event of great importance occurred there such as the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in France. Many countries use Ancient monument or similar terms for the official designation of protected structures or archeological sites which may originally have been ordinary domestic houses or other buildings.

Monuments are also often designed to convey historical or political information. They can be used to reinforce the primacy of contemporary political power, such as the column of Trajan or the numerous statues of Lenin in the Soviet Union. They can be used to educate the populace about important events or figures from the past, such as in the renaming of the old General Post Office Building in New York City to the James A. Farley Building (James Farley Post Office), after former Postmaster General James Farley.[5]

The social meanings of monuments are rarely fixed and certain and are frequently 'contested' by different social groups. As an example: whilst the former East German socialist state may have seen the Berlin Wall as a means of 'protection' from the ideological impurity of the west, dissidents and others would often argue that it was symbolic of the inherent repression and paranoia of that state. This contention of meaning is a central theme of modern 'post processual' archaeological discourse.

 

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DAY 1

DAY 1

Upon entering the site, we were briefed on our activity for the day, making a work to display in the street within the period of 12-2:30pm, the work must be based upon our initial experience of entering the site and also a brief tour of the building given by Gary. We were told of the institutional history of the building, and the context of the regeneration of Kings Cross by the property company Argent, the regression of Kings Cross made me think about the history of the area, previously Kings Cross was an area of economic decline with a history of social decay its industrial factories and warehouses home to the working class. Due to the privatisation of the area by the governments regeneration scheme the area is sold and a brand new image is created for KX by the company Argent. This image is one of upper value, businesses like Google and bold modern architecture create a high class area fully shaped and created by Argent. This got me thinking about manipulation of image and how that trickles down to manipulate the people within that area. I recently read 'The Maze' a photography book by Donovan Wylie about The Maze prison in Belfast, a prison which became a microcosm of the political conflict in Northern Ireland, with prisoners segregated according to their political beliefs and membership of paramilitary organizations. It was the scene of violent protests, hunger strikes, mass escapes and deaths of both prisoners and prison staff.

The Maze uses repetition of architectural features and interior furniture to enforce a maddening repetition of space, leaving prisoners feeling trapped and without control. 

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This repetition is common in Institutional buildings such as hospitals, schools, universities and government buildings, I'm interested in how the physicality of architecture can create this feeling of submissiveness which relates to my reading and interest in the monument and the social contexts of governmental architecture and the MONOLITH. 

From this i walked around the Granary Building, something that always interested me in my time spent there was how each stairwell was EXACTLY the same, as you enter it, there is a corridor to the classrooms and workshops, sets of lockers run parallel down the corridor, then a set out bathrooms which is parallel to a staircase. I walked around each stairwell, accessing it through the bridges and ascending by the stairs within the stairwell and took images of each of these identical features before compiling them in a grid on the floor displaying this symmetry and repetition.

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DAY 4

DAY 4

Upon entering the last day of our working I was interested in the idea of defending the 3D group from the threat of the institution. This was not my initial reaction to the space but was prompted by my classmates who hated working in the space. A few of my classmates felt deeply unsettled by the space and hated feeling like they couldn't place work without expecting it to be moved around or messed with. the RULES of space as well as the public nature, constantly being looked at and watched by CCTV, the guards and by students. Due to this I began to think about warfare.

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'Riot control refers to the measures used by police, military, or other security forces to control, disperse, and arrest people who are involved in a riot, demonstration, or protest. If a riot is spontaneous and irrational, actions which cause people to stop and think for a moment (e.g. loud noises or issuing instructions in a calm tone) can be enough to stop it. However, these methods usually fail when there is severe anger with a legitimate cause, or the riot was planned or organized. Law enforcement officers or military personnel have long used less lethal weaponssuch as batons and whips to disperse crowds and detain rioters. Since the 1980s, riot control officers have also used tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and electric tasers. In some cases, riot squads may also use Long Range Acoustic Devices, water cannons, armoured fighting vehicles, aerial surveillance, police dogs or mounted police on horses.'

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'One of many additional concerns is to prevent people in the crowd from snatching officers' side arms, which may be stolen or even used against the police. In a very heavy crowd, the officer may not be able to see who is responsible for snatching a weapon, and may not even notice that it has happened. For this reason, riot police may have holsters with positive locking mechanisms or other extra means of retention, if their agencies can afford such tools. However, this can be a trade-off that increases the amount of time needed to draw the sidearm in an emergency. Alternately, riot police may not carry sidearms at all.'

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I made a series of BAYONETs out of scrap wood and gaffa tape.

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DAY 2

DAY 2

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On day two of the residency I reflected on my experiance in the 12-2:30 work, a grid of images of repeated architectural features in the Kings Cross Granary building, i was interested in how repetition of architectural features and furniture objects can enforce a AUTHORITARIAN effect on the users of the building. 

I wanted to take advantage of the social aspect of this space, the constant flow of people moving through the space and its purpose, which is to commute to lessons, to facilitate the canteen and general movement through the institutional facility. I wanted to move objects around the space to challenge how this would effect peoples paths, instead of mindless walking i wanted to curve and curate the pathways and journeys taken in the day.  Having no access of workshops due to the priority of third years, I wanted to use scrap wood and objects found in the space to reflect on objects from the space being used to create diversions. 

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Moving objects into the centre of the street causes people to move around the 'obstacles' physically changing their path around the object causes the users of the space to consider their movements, i am manipulating the physical movements and judgements made when walking. It was clear that these obstacles changed the routes people took, as soon as I placed the objects the security and maintenance members began to change my placement of objects. I laid a number of wooden planks on the floor, wanting people to step over the wood, a manipulation of movement due to placement. A security member kicked the wood out of his way as he passed. Something which broke the authority of the 'Art Object' is the Street is a gallery or exhibition space then the security members denounce the art status of the objects. 

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I created barriers from scrap wood, and placed a wall infront of the initial entry point of the street, this parted the sea of people.

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Security guards and matinance team moving sculptures from the front of the street to the middle centre of street for 'safety' purposes and ease of acsess. What is the authorship of the work when it is moved or placed (or even curated) by two seperate bodies. if the sculpture is set in space they scrutinise it by denouncing its position as respected art objects, they pick them up and move them as if they are debre or functional barriers. 

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DAY 3

DAY 3

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Due to the back and forth between me and the security team moving my work I began to think about my barriers more in the context of war barricades and barricades in the context of DEFENCE:

'Barricade, from the French barrique (barrel), is any object or structure that creates a barrier or obstacle to control, block passage or force the flow of traffic in the desired direction. Adopted as a military term, a barricade denotes any improvised field fortification, such as on city streets during urban warfare.Barricades also include temporary traffic barricades designed with the goal of dissuading passage into a protected or hazardous area or large slabs of cement whose goal is to actively prevent forcible passage by a vehicle. Stripes on barricades and panel devices slope downward in the direction traffic must travel. There are also pedestrian barricades - sometimes called bike rack barricades for their resemblance to a now obsolete form of bicycle stand, or police barriers. They originated in France approximately 50 years ago and are now produced around the world. They were first produced in the U.S. 40 years ago by Friedrichs Mfg for New Orleans's Mardi Gras parades.'

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TABLEs taken from the Foundation studio, turned on side to create a solid wall, the textured surface contrasts from the clean white walls and polished wood floor of the space which explores the secret hidden insides of the building, the HUMANITY of the institution.

Ruben spoke about how behind the scary security persona is a human, and ow when speaking to the security team you realise they are not these powerful institutional members but just people doing their jobs, cogs in the system.

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CROWD CONTROL 

'Crowd control is a public security practise where large crowds are managed to prevent the outbreak of crowd crushes, affray, fights involving drunk and disorderly people or riots. Crowd crushes in particular can cause many hundreds of fatalities.[1] Crowd control can involve privately hired security guards as well as police officers. Crowd control is often used at large, public gatherings like street fairs, music festivals, stadiums and public demonstrations. At some events, security guards and police use metal detectors and sniffer dogs to prevent weapons and drugs being brought into a venue'

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WAR BARRICADES 

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