Mapping the Library - site specific project, Leeds, UK
MAPPING THE LIBRARY is a site specific project at Leeds Central Library. The project aims to discover or rather rediscover the spaces of the library, its collections, history and the relationship between the building and the people within it.
As an artist who is fascinated by the relationship between space and a person, this is one of the most interesting and challenging projects to date. I have been given an entire building to explore, with all its architectural details, styles, decorative elements, open and hidden spaces, dynamics formed between the staff and their working environment, between the public and the space, and its function.
My scientific background takes this research into a dimension of an environmental expedition into various habitats of the library’s ecosystem.
This Grade II building is a three stories structure with a vast basement, dozens of offices, open public spaces, special collections, thousands of books, music and map resources, digital studio 12, printing and IT facilities for all, local studies, largest art library in the county and a friendly and devoted staff. It is an incredible place to study.
Stage 1 of the project has been inaugurated with a site specific interactive game and a temporary installation, designed specifically for the Light Night, that took place early October. Participants were encouraged to take part in the site specific activity. Through a ‘treasure hunt’ style tasks, they were taken through all the levels of the building and had a chance to explore various spaces, and start looking up, down, behind and around. Through simple and playful tasks, participants were able to notice the environment around them in a more detailed way. As a reward for each accomplished task, they were given a piece of information about the building. This type of reward refers to the fact that learning and knowledge are incredibly valuable and those who can learn, read, explore, and hold the knowledge are in a privileged position. It also refers to the fact that the library, at the heart of the city, is a source of an open knowledge for all, only effort and time is needed.
Stage 2 of the project was a research time that gave me a chance to ‘dive in’ and explore all the intricacies of the building as an environment. From sound recording to photographic documentation to visual capture of combinations of compositions to getting to know the staff, collections and spaces. It was a crucial stage that decided on the development of the interactive activities for all, connected to the building.
Stage 3 of the project is a production stage. After the incredible research time, it is time to create! Massively inspired by the library’s book collection I have decided to focus on the few that impacted me the most, from natural history books with stunning illustration to marine books to family heraldry and astronomy.
As a result of my research I am now in the process of creating a series of creative work books and colouring sheets for families and very young ones. From playing with alphabet to geometry and architecture to botanical drawings and sensory walks.
Additionally I have designed two trails that take you across the library, guiding you through a series of signs with a surprise once you finish the walk.
Available to the public end of April!
THE URBAN FORMS RESIDENCY was a 10 day creative project in Łódź. The city itself is a centrally located urban hub with a strong industrial background. It is also one of very few large cities in Poland, not bombed during the WWII.
I’ve been connected with the city and Urban Forms for couple of years now which resulted in a close working relationship and also some great friendships :)
The residency allowed me to experiment freely with my style, concepts and workshop ideas. I decided to go very minimal and focus purely on the nearest environment, the very direct surroundings of the office. The location was diverse and big enough to give me material and inspiration to work with.
The core of the creative process was a 2h workshop that focused on the site specificity and its unique elements and shapes, from architectural ones to an intangible ones like shadow or light. The drawings and findings during the carefully guided workshop fed the further process of painting. I’ve produced three different pieces, from a mural painted directly onto the street surface where the workshop happened, to the minimal in size ‘observation points’ to, finally, a mural by the entry to the site.
All of them reflect on the variety of shapes and elements discovered during the workshop. The series is named ‘uneven geometry’ as majority of the participants were young children who produced an impressive and stunning collection of drawn elements. This playfulness of drawing, enjoyment of odd shapes and unusual elements noticed for the first time are at the core of the design.
‘Observation points’ are the interactive element of the series. Each element refers to a shape or object within the near space. The location of the observation point allows to find and observe a given element, and draw it! Whoever takes on the chance to ‘play’ it, can engage on as many or as few levels, from just finding and looking to drawing to creating their own observation points, here and now or anywhere.
Big thank you to Teresa Latuszewska, the director of Urban Forms for the fabulous opportunity and a great time spent in the beautiful city.
The Shoe Mill Project in Accrington, UK is a site specific intervention, in partnership with Mid Pennine Arts.
The project involved the local school, The Hollins, and a group of students participated in the creative process of designing the installation, from choosing the colours to the choice of the shape of the structures.
The installation refers to the railway heritage of the site and the shapes and forms are inspired by the structures and shapes seen along the British railway.
This also joins the ideas of totems and flat, bold colours, contrast and vibrancy. All those ideas bring a new set of dynamics to the place and with the signpost at the new beginning of the trail, the visitors of the site are encouraged for a walk and a creative exploration.
‘Uneven Geometry’, Urban Forms Art Residency, Łódź, Poland 2018