Medlock Soul Revival: Installation

Exhibition piece in Link Gallery, Manchester Metropolitan University. 27th Feb – 7th March 2013.

Conclusion of 6 week psychogeography project exploring the River Medlock. The installation includes sand and water from the Medlock; a video projection of the section of the river I was exploring; a hi-vis jacket with embroidered and screen printed logo ‘Medlock Soul Revival’; and two showcases of research material including objects from the river bank, books and photographs.

The installation attracted a lot of comment and interest.

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After taking it down I returned the sand to the banks of the river Medlock.

The showcases with research material are staying on display for a bit longer.


Medlock Objects (poster variation)

Objects found on the banks, and in the vicinity of the river Medlock.

The rule here was to keep the objects in a square grid format. This means all the objects are not to scale.

Medlock objects (all on A4)(72)


Medlock Objects

Slideshow (silent) of objects found on the banks and in the vicinity of the river Medlock.


Medlock Soul Revival (Ancoats Beach – Interventions, Observations)

Engaging with the beach, collecting objects from the sand, raking the beach…


Some clips of the river at the beach….


Hi-vis jacket – ordered online. Embroidered logo on front, print on back….

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Medlock Soul Revival (Installation: Studio Trials 2)

Further developments with the installation…

The bucket and ball have been replaced with a clear tube of river Medlock water.

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Some of the unidentified seedlings have started to etiolate due to low light levels in the studio….



Medlock Soul Revival: Installation (development)

Having acquired a decent display case I proceeded to fill it with all the bits and pieces I have collected along the banks and vicinity of the River Medlock. But looking at it, I decided it was no good. It looked like a pseudo-museum. So I collected sand from the Ancoats beach area and settled on the orange bucket and green ball to sum up this phase of the project. I was going to let the sand dry out, but much to my surprise and delight small sprouts started to grow within 48 hours. Obvious really, that there would be some sort of seeds in the sand of a riverbank. So my installation has become a living thing, and I intend to cultivate the seeds all the way to the exhibition in a couple of weeks.

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Ardwick Youth Club: Erected 1897 – Demolished 2013

I had been watching the demolition of Ardwick Youth Club on Palmerston Street, on an off for a few days. Then a few days ago, on 30th January, I was driving past and noticed that all that was left to come down was the front facade. I pulled up and, in a moment of serendipity, videoed the demolition of the original terracotta brick frontage saying ‘Erected 1897’.

See also the useful history me blog


Regarding Trash

Following on from yesterday’s post ‘Roundhouse: Litter Shrine‘ –  here are some links to sites and web pages on the theme of  trash, rubbish and art:

By Canadian based artist Michel de Broin, the Dead Star is a sculpture formed from batteries at the end of their functional life:


Alice Bradshaw has a whole research project going on. This is a great website:


OED Definition
Pronunciation: /traSH/
Noun: discarded matter; refuse; cultural items, ideas, or objects of poor quality; a person or people regarded as being of very low social standing
Verb [with object]: 1 informal damage or wreck; discard; (computing) kill (a file or process) or wipe (a disk); criticize severely; intoxicated with alcohol or drugs. 2 strip (sugar cane) of its outer leaves to ripen it faster.
Origin: late Middle English: of unknown origin. The verb is first recorded (mid 18th century) in trash (sense 2 of the verb); the other senses have arisen in the 20th century

“Trash is the visible interface between everyday life and the deep, often abstract terrors of ecological crisis.” – Heather Rogers, Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage.

“The subversive potential of trash” – Klaus Neumann

“Trash has a history of its own because you find objects that have been worked, that have lived, that have existed; that they have taken on a certain beauty. But there is also anonymous trash. For instance, if you go to a tin worker, you’ll find pieces of tin, neutral, anonymous pieces of tin. […] To me trash is not ‘what society rejects’, but ‘a useful material that someone left lying around.” César in interview with S. Frauchereau and J. Ristat in Diagraphe no. 29, March 1983

“I truly think that trash should stop being refuse, before the artist can make use of it.” Tony Cragg – Trash Art, Internationales Forum Für Gestaltung, Ulm 1992

“I have never been interested in trash, it;s a generic term and it is so irresponsible to use it.” Tony Cragg – Tony Cragg ed. Germano Celant, Charta, Milan 1997

Mount Everest has an increasing amount of rubbish being left.

A group of artists have now turned eight tonnes of this trash – including the remains of a helicopter – into works of art and sculpture to highlight the issue of littering on the slopes of Everest. It took 65 porters and 75 yaks to carry down the rubbish from the mountain over two Spring expeditions.

Song Dong clutter collection:

Chinese artist Song Dong has scooped up five decades of his mother’s clutter and is showcasing it at a London exhibition called Waste Not.
All 10,000 items are on display at the Barbican’s Curve Gallery to illustrate the strong bonds between family members and how the power of objects tell stories and shape lives.

Kurt Schwitters:

Sheep bones, nails, pegs, a scrubbing brush, a metal toy – all, according to avant garde German artist Kurt Schwitters, are on a par with paint, and all appear in collages and sculptures in a London show dedicated to his time in Britain in the 1940s.

And finally, I love the feature documentary ‘Waste Land’ – about the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz:



Roundhouse (Field Trip: Litter Shrine)

Christ Church, the original building that became the Roundhouse, closed in 1880.

Manchester Settlement: a registered charity founded in 1895 by the University of Manchester.

The original home was the Roundhouse in Ancoats, Manchester. It provided a large recreation room for plays and dances.

In 1963 the Settlement moved out of its other building at Ancoats Hall.

The Roundhouse was demolished in 1986.

In May 2009 the charity moved into a new £2.2m centre in Openshaw.

Today: January 31st 2013, the brick circle contains silver birches, wild brambles and much litter.

An unusual amount of discarded footwear.

Intervention: ‘Litter Shrine‘.


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Ancoats Beach (Field Trip 3)

Buying a rake.

But arriving at the site and seeing there were three Environment Agency Vehicles there.

An animal hole.

The snow has melted.

Patterns in the sand.

Starting at the gated land that was once the Ancoats Nursery School…..



And as Ancoats Nursery School was, on Palmerston Street, 1965.


Ancoats Nursery School on Palmerston Street, 1965. Courtesy J. Shaw

Due to the snowmelt the river Medlock is high today….

IMG_2944 IMG_2946The Environment Agency arrived to clear some of the rubbish….one of the men said that they would clear the sand away at some point. The barriers are to prevent trees and large rubbish entering the culverts in Manchester city centre. Once larger objects enter the culverts it is hard to remove them, and they can cause flooding.

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