By measuring ourselves against the ideal world of utopia, we are looking into a mirror in which contemporary shortcomings and blemishes are clearly evident. Utopia, a literal ‘non-place’, a fictional island created by Sir Thomas More in his book of the same name published in 1516, offers the potential for subtle politicking and a means of reflecting on present events.
My practice is informed by the politics of urban planning and architectural intervention. I question how the utopian ideas behind Modernism’s post war housing estates match up to their creators’ prescribed vision. I chart the decline of egalitarian belief systems, the building blocks to con- struct a better world, and lament their passing. I refer to the aesthetics of the clean lined architectural blueprint, interpreting this as bound up with the architect’s initial utopian fantasy. I then trace this through to actual buildings, the lived in reality of degraded and depreciated structures, dystopic concrete backdrops – the high-rise villains of London’s skyline.
In keeping with Modernism’s utopian sensibilities, I seek to democratise my practice by collaborating with the residents of the housing estates on which my projects are based. I gave each apartment in Trellick Tower a print from which my film Prometheus comprises and worked with the staff, pupils and architect of the Jack Taylor School for the Untitled (Alexandra Road Estate project).
The works in my degree show (two films, a sign and a memorial plaque) were spread over the communal spaces and bookable project rooms of my educational environment of the past year. They were linked by utopian theme, their purpose as communicational devices, by their malfunctioning glitches, and the process of decay that was necessary for their creation. They were unified in their collaboration with the architectural fabric of The City & Guilds of London Art School - itself a utopian institution.
Qualifications and training
- 2011 Distinction in MA Fine Art, City and Guilds of London Art School, London
- 1993 BA Art History, Manchester University, Manchester
- 2012 London Original Print Fair, Royal Academy, London
- 2011 Art in Mind, Brick Lane Gallery, London
Competitions, prizes and awards
- 2012 Norman Ackroyd Print Making Prize, City & Guilds of London Art School MA Degree Show, London
- 2012 GAM prize, City & Guilds of London Art School MA Degree Show, London
- 2001 Diana Brooks Prize, London
Educational experience - secondary
- 2000 Student and Teacher, Charles Cecil Studios, Florence, Italy