Pennine Street is a cartographic art experiment, twinning High Street 2012 in London with the Pennine Way, a long-distance footpath running between the Peak District and the Scottish Borders.
To Set the Darkness Echoing
Archive | Immaculately Presented Modern and Contemporary Living
This was a 2010 project in response to the gating of the building complex I lived in. It was exhibited with this text:
Immaculately Presented Modern and Contemporary Living is a photographic diptych that incorporates text from a speech made by Neil Kinnock shortly before becoming leader of the Labour Party in 1983. The words obscure and merge with images of a gated middle class housing development in east London.
This work creates an opportunity to think about social and economic aspiration, which has become a ubiquitous political buzz-word in the New Labour era, and the consequences of the squeezing-out of debate about equality or even redistribution of wealth. As the Labour Party undergoes further change, this work is a personal and political reflection on how national political processes are manifested in ordinary living.
The idea of 'home' as an indicator of social status is in question here, particularly in the irony of the title Immaculately Presented Modern and Contemporary Living. This phrasing is composited from estate agents' descriptions of properties within the pictured development. Relatively very few people actually enter these homes, so to whom do residents or estate agents imagine these lifestyles are being displayed? One answer is the neighbours across the street who live in social housing, and whose access to so-called 'aspiration' is structurally less than that of the wealthy middle class Londoners behind the gates.
In this political context, the merging of word and image claims that political ideology cannot be separated from the ways that we live our ordinary lives, and cannot be separated from the ways that differing conceptions of 'the good life' are developed.