JAMES THOMAS

Clippings to read, watch and listen

Reinventing Concrete

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Notes for extending (RE EDIT):

Every morning without fail, inside the railings separating his home and my public right of way, a barrel-bellied bulk of a man stood massaging his shar-pei skull. We had a relationship of sorts – a quick nod in the early hours as our cycles crossed. I was sad to find, one morning that he and his neighbours had moved on.

One day two caravans, two vans, one car and a bus were situated on a large concrete area under the A104. The next day, they were gone. One in a line of successive groups that have taken over the fenced void of no-mans-land that sits underneath the busy main road.

So what now? Are they slowly circumnavigating the inner city? Forming temporary residence in unwanted plots of concrete alongside canal paths and behind bus depots? The search for S.L.O.A.P. sending them in patterns around the middle spread of the city where tower blocks meet dual carriageways, housing estates meet scrapyards, infrastructure and residential layer over one another. I wonder how many years it would take to navigate full cycle.

Previous to their occupation the area had been used as a skate-spot. Concrete barriers dropped to stop vehicle entry tipped and relocated to form obstacles. Bucket mixed cement easily transforming central reservation barriers into quarter pipes. Wax application morphing concrete road-blocks into perfect ‘grind’ targets.  Amazing what you can do with a bit of wax and a leaf blower. [swimming pools/east coast US/dogtown]

At some point this group also got moved on, or just got bored. Venturing on into unknown locations to momentarily possess a concrete bank until over-used or exhausted. [Seek and Destroy]. Moving within circumferences from their local spot, another layer of ‘terrain vague’ pioneers re-inventing forgotten space.

The space now sits in a moment of flux – the ground is clear. Concrete bollards and blocks (previously tables, benches, grind obstacles, chopping blocks and one morning a T’ing off point for a rather bored young man with a rather large piece of timber and a squash ball), accumulated rubbish, leaf/tree/plant debris, the broken folded chair and breezeblock bbq’s are all gone. The space is huge and apparently reclaimed.

JT

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Written by James Thomas

02/10/2010 at 13:08

Posted in 002/ S.L.O.A.P

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