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On site today involved a discussion with staff about the brick building that appears boarded up. It’s currently used as storage but apparently was the recycling centre when the site was next to the municipal tip. The site manager found me this aerial view photo on Brighouse from 1978 and circled in the site.

The rip was accidental – pulling it out of the decaying frame. This is resonant of my current ripped works on paper and is approximately where the train station is – a beautifully incidental parallel as my other main project Dwell Time is situated on board trains and at stations.

I like to find out about the odd or surprising items – the anomalies – to compare with what I find interesting. They once had a dead cat (and perhaps more they didn’t find). With death comes loss and absence and inevitable getting rid of related items like pet beds.

I find the bins in skips really interesting. Some are recovered to sell in the charity shop (including a galvanised steel one like I used in a sculpture and a plastic grey one like the one I use for Museum of Contemporary Rubbish donations) and some are sorted into scrap metal or general waste. It seems like a visual echo or paradox.

Another echo is the kettle like mine at home combined with the memory of cutting a mustard yellow kettle out of a magazine yesterday because it was the same yellow as the colour matched paint. Time for a brew and reflection. The kettle went into electrical because they don’t have the facilities to test if these items are working to resell/reuse.

Someone dropped off these items (which will go into the charity shop) as they’ve just redecorated their house. They’ve downsized and decluttered. Their new colour scheme is purple and silver so these red pictures don’t go. Someone else might buy them. The rug was given by a friend as an intermediate rug whilst they found one for a permanent fixture.

Another car load was some helpful neighbours getting rid of their neighbour’s hoard after a significant declutter. A dusty light fitting, an empty frame, a patterned rug that fell into composition.


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Objects of interest from the skips today:

  • Broken cellar door
  • Kitchen sink from a kitchen refit
  • Rocking horse given to the previous owner but ‘immediately trashed’ by her kids and too small for them anyway.
  • File used to store important documents then became part of a sand and water play feature.
  • Antique butter dishes that were found in the previous owner’s cellar and not wanted.
  • Recovered books out of the skips.

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I used the paint colour-matched with ‘Oro Antico’ (paint thrown out after a relationship break-up) mixed at Seagulls Recycled Paint to ‘repair’ some torn pictures from discarded/recycled materials (Ikea advert and Suez recycling leaflet).

I was originally thinking to carefully paint the torn edge akin to the kintsugi ‘gold repair’ technique but I decided to highlight the absence instead and omit the other bit of the image altogether.

I was also curious about this Oro Antico paint and did a quick google. From the paint website Colour Courage:

Origin of the colour

Oro Antico 

The Region around the Italian lakes offers many magnificent colours. But to find an impressive tone it takes a bit of luck and the perfect moment. Like standing on an observation platform at the Lake of Lugano. There was an elaborately produced old display board. It showed the surrounding mountain peaks and their heights. The information was engraved in a big, round brass plate. With strong backlight, the patinized brass looked just like dark, old gold. It is ORO ANTICO.”

This display aspect is interesting. In my Masters by Research thesis I identify three key areas of concern: Collection, Display and Exchange and it’s notable that these continue to be prevalent in this residency. The Exchange of ‘Rubbish Conversations’ has been a main focus throughout this residency with the Collection of photographs and stories being my main activities. The Display is the exhibition and performance with regular blogging and social media postings contributing also. This residency can be broken down into these constituent parts but have been taking place simultaneously whereas perhaps in previous work including my Master research project, there was more of a linear trajectory with inevitable overlap. These constituent elements seem to more concurrent now. I hope once the end-of-residency work has been produced (film, prints, publication, performance) that these will go on to initiate further exchange with ‘Rubbish Conversations’ too.


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Yellow has been a prevalent colour from the very outset of my residency. One of the most poignant ‘rubbish conversations’ and objects I’ve photographed to date is this paint tin of ‘Oro Antico’ [Antique Gold] which is a mustard colour. This paint tin symbolises the broken relationship of the previous owner and their desire to start a fresh and move on in their life.

There’s a close relationship between rubbish and antiques. Some people throw away things of value all the time whether this is sentimental, material or antique value. Antiques Roadshow will tell you how much your rubbish in the attic may be worth, and Lars Tharp once valued my rubbish as ‘worth a painted fence‘ referencing Mark Twain.

Antiques: n. A collectable object such as a piece of furniture or work of art that has a high value because of its age and quality.

Sometimes even a broken antique is valuable.

I’ve been aware of the Japanese ‘golden repair’ technique Kintsugi for a while, and whilst I’m not going to emulate that, I thought it would be interesting to play with this notion of highlighting repairs or breakages beyond repair with “Oro Antico”. As a poor imitation of ‘old gold’ or a fake old gold, a suggestion of it or commercial homage – Oro Antico is the colour I want to use as a hi vis highlighter. So I’ve colour matched the paint from the Recycling Centre at another recycling centre: Seagulls Paint in Leeds which sells recycled paint.

It was a fascinating process for an artist that doesn’t paint! The shop itself was amazing with layers upon layers of splattered paint.

Buckets for lampshades.

The staff there were really helpful and curious what it was for: “Is it for a feature wall?” So I explained the work and considered that the Oro Antico from the failed relationship was probably indeed a feature wall. I thought this was a really interesting term: Feature Wall (aka accent wall): the wall that is different to stand out akin to kintsugi drawing attention to the repair.


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I managed to make it to Ryan Durrant‘s show opening at Temporary Contemporary last night and had a quick chat with him. It’s not directly related to my residency but something I’m planning to do after is meet up with other artists working in rubbish and undertake some unstructured ‘interviews’ with them. Ryan’s show is great. There’s a lot of resonance with my own work whilst not being too alike: Ideas of repetition and motif with process and material being central concerns.

Then I went to an event at Cafe Ollo: THINK GIGS | Psychoanalysis & Improvisation hosted by Hoot. It was a lecture by Tim Moss: “a psychoanalytic psychotherapist working in the NHS & in private practice. Previously he was a performer & then an academic lecturing in drama, theatre & performance. He still plays with Huddersfield based band Kelter.” Followed by a sound performance by Napolean IIIrd.

Tim’s lecture was surprisingly relevant to my rubbish residency (I had actually gone with a Dwell Time hat on, if these things can be compartmentalised). He talked about the transitional phenomena of objects and space (ref: Winnicott). Transitional space he defined as being situated between internal and external reality – not necessarily physical but this could be in the mind too. (He also referenced Cohen and the Uncanny relating to this liminal, inbetween space.) The notion of transitional objects I’ve understood from a child psychology basis of a ‘comfort object’ that the child focusses on in times of transition or change, but this notion of transitional space is interesting and perhaps relevant to my residency work of being rubbish-not rubbish, in the skip, hooked out and sent to the charity shop, photographed and thrown back in the skip. Is it rubbish or not? A lot of my previous work has played with this notion of the uncanny and inbetweenness and this new work is no exception. Also part of my exhibition will be situated in the transitional space of the corridor between the library and the art gallery: Not quite in the library and not quite in the gallery but in this inbetween the two.

Tim also talked about restored behaviour and that all performance behaviour has been performed before (ref Susan Foster: knowns and unknowns of improvisation performance) and the ‘recycling’ of performative behaviour. I’m not sure Tim used the word recycling but that’s what I have taken from his talk: performative behaviour is repeated and recycled, whether consciously or not, within normative social constructs.This recycling of performative behaviour was really interesting and also the question of how much improvisation can I allow myself in my performance? In previous performances I’ve often prepared a script and mostly stuck to it but I feel this won’t work with a guided tour that’s interactive. I had thought about preparing components for my performance and improvising the order depending on audience engagement. I will have to think some more about this.


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