Deserters

deserters meetingroom1“Can you stop the cavalry?”

In 2009 I was artist in residence for the Nunhead Open.  The residency took place at an abandoned community centre. The Nunhead Community centre was closed down because of an alleged contamination of legionnaires’ disease, but rumour has it that this was a ploy by the council to close it down and sell the land to property developers.  There is a feeling of sudden abandonment in the building, with the ghosts of the old community still very much in residence in the many artefacts left behind. The work, made on site, is a direct response to this feeling.  I used objects, furniture letters and other material found at the abandoned centre, together with some interventions of my own to create a mysterious narrative around where the community might have disappeared too. Pre-recorded sounds of a lone singer,  singing 1970s pop and novelty records about war, were relayed throughout the space.  The work was a celebration of the surreal wonderfulness of community centres, and a requiem for the loss of such spaces for public use to make way for alienating property development for private use.

As with many other projects, there was an element of curation within this work.  I invited several artists and others to respond to my narrative of the community and to make work around this  in the space: Simon Neville, Ricarda Vidal, Julian Wakeling.