Drawing on the City
. . . a walk through history
Seven installations conceived along a route through the changing landscape of Barcelona and St Adria. The route and installations are conceived to make visible again the cultural heritage and experiences of local people, which has sometimes been overlaid, sometimes forgotten, sometimes displaced …
The new structures embed collective memory and imagery in the cityscape. The work is an active and engaging series of dialogues around the role of the city in the making of communities and individual experience. Routes are looping and returning and may be travelled by bus, Tramvia, walking, bicycle or even horseback.
In San Adria,at a thriving Tuesday market below the freeway local bird keepers meet to compare, exchange or trade their birds. The singing bird wall is set under some trees near one of the entrances to the market, commemorating the Sociedad de Pajaros in La Mina. Formal inspiration comes from Mexican bird walls, French pigonieres and Indian sites where birds are kept. Light sensitive, timed devices broadcasting recordings of local birdsong will be placed within the structure.
The wall of dreams celebrates the dreams, relationships, hopes and fears of generations of children resident in la Mina.Their drawings are a source of fascination to anthropologists and psychologists. The drawings appear spontaneously during the hot months of the year when the street is the most comfortable environment.
The surface of Paseo Cameron (the central Plaza space of la Mina) is a huge surface perfect for covering with chalk drawings, which then disappear overnight as they are walked over, fade or are washed away. Some days the Plaza is entirely covered by drawing — other days only a few highly personal images can be found. The transformation of the drawings is the focus for the transformation of the site around the Centro Cultural Gitano de la Mina.
Within the garden three different and simple structures will allow for development of planting and activities. Filigree armatures formed from reebar allows bougainvillea to grow protected and give sculptural presence to the space, providing shade and colour. Concrete seating provides a circular community space around a central fire pit. A planting area allows small scale gardening governed by children. Other ground surfaces are covered in a perforated concrete, hardwearing but allowing grass to grow through it and eventually giving the area quite a wild feel.
The diverse areas around la Mina were, until recently, home to many horses, kept in backyards and on a horse farm on waste ground. Horses formed an integral way of life in the area and were used to pull recycling carts, for transport and for trade. Recent changes have seen the horses disappear. A place of horses is a happening/event that sees the horses return to la Mina, and is inspired by the work of Muybridge and Asger Jorn at Albisola.
A series of identical concrete panels will bear the immaculate detailed evidence of a horse-run through specially prepared troughs on the rivers edge. Once dry they will be tilted and lifted into position on the adjacent retaining wall to form a permanent sculpture.
The House of Doors sits at a meeting place between the land and the sea, and makes reference to the sea as a first point of contact for many of the cities early migrants. Floating pale like a ghost, from the moment the first light illuminates the sea to the lower light of the evening, the House of Doors evokes two distinct moments in time: a memory of using doors to build his house in 1962 recounted by a former resident of Somorrostro and a photograph of a home built from 16 wooden doors, taken by Hannah Collins in 2003. The small pontoon tempts swimmers out to use it as a meeting place. For those not swimming it provides a resonant image seen from the shore.
The Portal is the site of the intersection between Cerda’s diagonal, the Tramvia and Avinguda Litoral. It is also a node in a series of walkable and cycable loops linking Barcelona, Barceloneta and Poble Nou with San Adria and Badalona. The portal is an orientation map for the overall project, an extension of the tram platform worked in coloured enamels with each of the seven installations colour coded and linked into the fabric of the city. The portal entices you to explore the neighbourhood, to venture deeper…
Pavilion is a collection of green structures dedicated to providing a series of amenities within the park. It is sited on the raised ground beneath the trees to create a series of discreet spaces which can be open to the sky, shaded by the tree canopy in summer, or in the winter sun.
A collaborative work by Catherine du Toit and Peter Thomas of 51% Studios with artist Hannah Collins.Drawing on the City was exhibited in the Caixa Forum during the summer of 2008. For more information, please see Hannah Collins’ website
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