In the meantime… invited three writers to respond to the project, Jamila Prowse, Kate Morgan and Dr. Elizabeth Reeder. Each approached our interactive PDF from a unique geographical and stylistic perspective.
Jamila Prowse –
Connecting from a distance
In the meantime… is borne of a specific locality; the site between Camden Art Centre and Somers Town. It is not a locality I have direct roots in, but the history of my life extends back through it. I was conceived on Davenant Road in the neighbouring borough of Islington, and throughout her pregnancy my mum worked at Camden Art Centre on the Educations Team. Still, as I write this I am sat in my partner’s family home in SW16, a 50 minute journey away via bus and tube. What does it mean to respond to a work that’s in a locality you are not a part of?
In many ways I am disconnected from In the meantime… Separated by tube lines, the aftershocks of a slowly alleviating lockdown and a disability that largely keeps me indoors. Another set of circumstances might have led me to Somers town, publication in hand, as a companion to walk the local streets. I would have still been an outsider, an onlooker, an observer… undeniably disconnected. Reading the publication at a distance, I find new pathways and routes to connection.
Some of what reaches me is familiar. The locality I sit in now has changed and evolved too. It is unrecognisable from the area in which my partner grew up. The streets seem to shift near-weekly. Down the road, Brixton are fighting for the survival of the local businesses residing under the arches. Changes threaten livelihoods, communities, associations and friendships – finding kinship with Esther Leslie’s account of Chalton Street which spans multiple interconnected histories and timelines, overshadowed by ongoing gentrification.
As with Sonia Uddin’s Minutes, I have seen the inside of planning meetings about regeneration; as an art worker during an organisation’s relocation. I have felt the dissonance between the interests of local artists, and outsiders coming in to dictate how culture should happen. I have felt my complicity in the way regeneration occurs within our cities.
As I continue to read, I come across Lucy Joyce’s musings on the beautiful fabrics of building sites. Next door there is scaffolding enveloped in a canopy. You can hear it throughout the day, fluttering in the wind. I am hypersensitive to noise and often get sensory overload. For the past few days, attempting to write this response, I’ve been distracted by the building works. I’ve been longing for the quiet predictability of a library. But now I look up. I pause and observe the folds of the canvas, the way it catches the light, its unpredictable rips and scaffold poles poking through.
How can an artwork from another place make you reflect on your own surroundings?
The stories, associations and reflections across In the meantime… may not speak to a locality with which you are familiar. Or perhaps, it recalls streets you’ve walked down your whole life. Either way, the echoes of dislocation, reminiscence and homecoming will be familiar to people across the country in continually evolving, oft-unrecognisable, different-but-similar environments.
Kate Morgan –
x marks a spot
Dr. Elizabeth Reeder – Let me show you how I show up to this hot loom
I am welcome here, In the Meantime. Invited, I am a stranger and it seems to me that invitation takes many forms and some invitations bear repeating because to be welcomed is to travel into, through and to be in companionship with.
An interstitial weave, we are delicate, loud, thick, bold as we re-learn that pattern is not necessarily direction; it might be a network or any connection or polygon, a bubble or the breaking of a bubble.
Other spaces that aren’t spaces: between chairs set in a circle; how molecules in movement become substantial; when one time carries another within it.
I sometimes live in a dear green place, a city where a 20-year-old community battle to save Govanhill Baths has just been won. This is one outcome.
Also, I was born in a city of sly demolitions. A listed building often has two addresses when its corner defines a meeting of streets. One – an official address – is registered with the Preservation Society; the other address is used by demolition crews. Down before you know it. What persists? Tree-islands left as a reminder of what has been demolished.
What is it to be a companion? It is to understand yourself in relational connection to.
Although you can’t navigate using someone else’s maps, invitation takes many forms and colour is my favourite: steady, strobed, azul, mustard, woven. A decorated mirror – all lit up, projected – allows us to see new companions like friends and offers the opportunity to travel through new places and to walk new paths through familiar places.
The moving relation of all these parts reveals how we are all in a continual state of repair.
Let me show you how I show up to this hot loom: as I have been invited to.