Out of Time - Blast! Festival 2019

In 2018 I was selected by Multistory for a ‘forge’ commission as part of the first Blast! festival of Photography, Walks and Talks.

My commission was to make some new work in response to the Oldbury area of Sandwell, West Midlands. Through a long gestation process, with the 11 other commissioned artists. I was able to partake in masterclass sessions with the Blast headline artists - The Caravan Gallery, Martin Parr and Erik Kessels. In the autumn of 2018 I presented my 'ideas in progress' to Erik who challenged me to ‘...get out of my comfort zone’. A challenge I took on.

In Langley Park, the Lodge clock tower has stopped. Each of its faces stopped at different times. In the context of the Blast! Festival I began thinking about a photograph being a fragment of time, frozen by the shutter click and how collage combines different and disparate frozen moments. Out of time drew on local archives amassed by ‘Made in Oldbury’ and ‘Living Memory Project’ to make a series of works that reflected on both the industrial and social history of the area.

My project culminated in an evening event on June 15, 2019, which began with a ‘collage party’ where attendees were invited to make collage with me at Langley Lodge. As dusk settled, I led a guided walk around the park to view a series of nine large format black and white paste up works I had created that interact with the environment they are situated in. Starting at the clock tower they formed an subtly illuminated trail through the park to the nearby canal towpath.

Along the towpath stands a monumental and derelict building. I had discovered Langley Maltings when exploring the area and was struck by its grandeur and it’s calm location. Working with images from both archives I created 10 colour collages that were projected on the four storey waterside facade creating reflective works that in turn reflected on the glassy canal. An ambient electronic soundtrack by Chris Herbert played while this projected exhibition showed each of the works for one minute - the cycle repeated once.

Many thanks to Jenny Moore, Multistory / Blast Festival, CPL, Urban Audio Productions, Joseph Potts, David Rowan, Geoff Broadway (Living Memory Project), Brendan and Kate Jackson (Made in Oldbury), Canal and River Trust and Chris Flood (Langley Lodge). Also thanks to Erik Kessels for the nudge of encouragement away from ‘...playing it safe’.

Photos: David Rowan