For future reference

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.

ad infinitum

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).

Invigilator: Digbeth

paul conneally + nikki pugh + you + them
Saturday 29th March, 2-5pm
meet at VIVID at 2pm

As Digbeth continues its metamorphosis and assimilation into Eastside (Birmingham’s transforming, revitalising and regenerating regeneration project[1]) art institutions and project spaces present there are slowly increasing in number and yet, for the most part, they are safely kept behind locked gates, barred windows and access-controlled doors.

For Invigilator: Digbeth, a team of volunteers will take the role of gallery invigilator/visitor assistant outside where, rather than sitting in gallery spaces, they will be watchful over the streets and the day-to-day life unfolding there.

This is the fifth in the Invigilator series[2] where a single set of directions has been transposed onto different locations to determine the exact place for watching over; we can choose our significant starting points, but then a pre-determined sequence of lefts, rights and straight-ons takes us on a not-quite-random walk to an unplanned invigilation site.

Invigilator: Digbeth will consist of several invigilations taking place simultaneously throughout the Digbeth area. The significant starting points will be the galleries, studios and project spaces that would normally host the invigilators. The same galleries, studios and project spaces responsible for Digbeth’s renaissance…

Digbeth is also significant as the starting point for the Invigilator series as a whole since the directions used to arrive at the invigilation sites were derived from those used to get from home to a part-time job invigilating at VIVID.

All are welcome to join us for Invigilator: Digbeth. We will meet at VIVID at 2pm, borrow some of their red t-shirts and then walk to our respective invigilation sites (about 4 people per team) where we will be watchful for about 30 minutes before returning to VIVID for refreshments and feedback. No special equipment required: just bring yourselves, suitably warm clothing and a willingness to interact with the city.

Queries on the day phone: 0121 766 7876 (VIVID office)
Further information on the Invigilator series:


[2]New Forest,Derby,Tokyo and Nuneaton

Invigilator:Digbeth has been supported by Access West Midlands

invigilator invites

Invigilator : Digbeth

We’re currently getting excited about the re-appropriated business cards we’re using for the Invigilator: Digbeth invitations. Hope you do too!

[link to vimeo page]

paul conneally + nikki pugh + you + them
Saturday 29th March, 2-5pm

meet at VIVID at 2pm

bring a red top if you haven’t already arranged to use either one of ours or one from a different venue

invigilating Digbeth

Since May last year, Paul Conneally and I have been invigilating.

First I invigilated some of the New Forest. Then Paul replied by hopping on the train with the morning commuters and invigilating a building site in Derby.

Shortly after that I wanted to explore what would happen if you had more than one invigilator. I wanted to see how the presence of multiple invigilators affected the dynamics of an area that has to be walked through (rather than just a point location that people can walk past).

invigilating Tokyo

I was in Japan at the time so this gave rise to Invigilator: Tokyo and – inevitably – a whole barrage of further questions!

More recently, Paul and I met up in Nuneaton for the first of the invigilations that we have done together. More questions!

We now feel it is time for us to turn the process around on itself and use the next invigilation to examine its origin: my old part-time job invigilating the gallery space at VIVID.

We want to dissect what we have learned so far.

We want you.

We’re currently gathering people who would like to don red t-shirts and join us on Saturday the 29th of March for Invigilator: Digbeth. We want to scale up the Tokyo action and send small teams of invigilators percolating out through Digbeth: turning the whole cultural quarter thing inside-out to extract people from their barricaded, security-protected warehouses and onto the street for an hour or so.

As a nod to how this series of works came about, we’ll be using VIVID as a base, liberating their red t-shirts, and also returning there for the debrief session and refreshments afterwards.

The invigilations themselves involve following a set of left/right/straight-on directions and then probably about 30 minutes standing around that location being watchful. What we’re after, in order to give Invigilator: Digbeth some clout is a) as many invigilators as possible so we can properly cover a large area and b) some suggestions for relevant starting points for the random walks.

So, for now, we’d like you to do three things for us:

  • Put that date in your diary: 29th of March, 2-5pm.
  • Suggest some cultural venue/art institution-esque starting points that the random walks to the invigilation locations can start from. We know about the obvious ones near to VIVID such as Ikon Eastside, the Custard Factory and the soon to be opened Eastside Projects, but we’d like more. Are there any? Bung something in the comments and let us know about it!
  • Let us know if you’d like to take part. All welcome, but we’d be particularly keen to hear from anyone who would normally work as one of the aforementioned venues.

More details to follow a bit closer to the day, and further invites are being circulated in the real world too.

invigilator 4

Like the memorial in the park, all I really feel confident about saying regarding each of the pieces in the Invigilator series at the moment is simply that they happened.

george eliot was here

Nuneaton: George Eliot and Invigilator were here.

invigilator: nuneaton

invigilator: nuneaton

caterpillar was here

the watchers

On the way back from invigilating a small section of the New Forest, we encountered Copythorne Carnival.

I was interested in the resonances with what I had just done and the presence of the stewards and the bystanders.

map of Stirchley

Selected highlights from the bank holiday weekend.


(click image for complete map.)


Being sat in a darkened room for five-and-a-half hours a day for two weeks means you tend to pick up on the small details a bit more.

Light reflecting off passing traffic:

(With musical accompaniment from Aureole and additional percussion from the heating system)


January 18th, 2007: Waiting for a friend outside the Serpentine Gallery, in quite strong winds.

your guide to pasty markings and flavours

pasty markings and flavours

  • Traditional (large and small) – one knife hole
  • Bacon, leek and cheese – two fork holes
  • Cheese and onion – Three fork holes
  • Vegetable – V and herbs on pasty
  • Indian chicken – one knife hole and two fork holes
  • Spicy chickpea ad potato – one knife hole and one fork hole…

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