Each time I do one of my circuits of one of the Eastsides, I think to myself I should really make a return visit with a camera and properly document the area.
Then I think to myself: I am documenting the area.
Then I think to myself: yes, but some photos would be nice.
Then I think to myself: it’s too much for one person to do; too much for one person to take responsibility for.
Then I think to myself: but if I don’t do it, nobody else will.
Then I think to myself: you’re not going to get paid for it and you can’t afford the time.
This evening I went to suss out what’s happening with all the recent road closures and I ended up taking some snaps.
Right now they look like a batch of slightly dull images of a non-landscape.
In ten years’ time they’ll be a crutch for our fading memories of what it was like when Curzon Street was here. (Assuming the plans to re-route Curzon Street alongside the railway lines are still going ahead.)
Panorama along Curzon Street showing its original location (click for full size).
Panoramic view from the canal bridge opposite the Lock Keeper's Cottage (click for full size).
I remember when all this was fields. Kinda. View from near the junction of Fazeley Street and New Canal Street (click for full size).
I’ve been walking many laps of the Eastside regeneration area over the last month or so, each time carrying a GPS unit in each hand, logging the positions they record and then converting the data into line drawings.
What’s increasingly striking me though, is the amount of change I’m seeing in the landscape I walk through, even on the timescale of a couple of weeks: hoardings go up around construction sites; piles of rubble are shifted; graffiti is removed; and subways re-painted.
When I’m walking with my GPS units however, I cannot stop to investigate these things in more detail, or even to properly document them. I must keep walking past at a steady pace.
On Sunday the 18th of October I’m going to do a different type of walk, and I’d like you to join me.
Weather permitting, we will meet at the Old Crown pub (Corner of Heath Mill Lane and Deritend, Digbeth) from 2pm for a 2.30 start. We will then walk once around the perimeter of the regeneration area taking great care to stop, investigate, prod, document, tell stories about and explore things along the way. A no-frills walk takes about 90 minutes, so be prepared for this one to last 2 or more hours. No route march though – this will be very stop-start.
Bring comfortable walking shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather. Kendall mint cake optional. If the weather is too wet we’ll postpone things ’til another time. Announcements for rain-checks or otherwise will go out via my Twitter stream and via the Sunday Local show on Rhubarb Radio where I will, sometime between 12 and 2pm, be talking about the Eastside drawings I’m making. (‘cos that’ll work great on the radio!)
I have the beginnings of an idea that I might collate the photos, GPS drawings and other documentations into a printed magazine so that there is some sort of a record of what things are like now (and how we remember them being in the past) that we can look at a few years down the line when everything will have changed beyond recognition. When we do the walk again, maybe.
Hello, my name's Nikki. I make things happen.
My main area of enquiry is centred around interactions between people and place: often using tools and strategies from areas such as pervasive games and physical computing to set up frameworks for exploration.
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