When I booked my trip to the UK there was no general election, not that people stop cleaning during a general election but I am hoping there will be more people out and about and campaigning, especially as it seems that many people are still undecided. I am now better planned and have maps and street views of the centre of the towns. The only difficult one I have is Chieveley which does not seem to have a centre and the town hall is outside of the village. This corner might work but as it is small I can drive around a bit more. I identified this problem when in the UK in February and drove with my daughter to look at villages.
The nature of villages in Europe is where there is the biggest obvious difference. In Spain the shrinking population tend to live in towns and cities and we have the famous abandoned villages. Although even in low population villages people tend to be on the street more. In England there appears to be no centre although the villages are often wealthier and well maintained. Some didn’t seem to even have a centre or shops. The best maintained villages in my experience are in France. There were events, local businesses and people and as an outsider there seemed to be some sense of community.
Southam seems to prove less of a problem, depending on the time of day there seem to be people. Again I can also drive around a bit.
I am also finding the post offices in towns that have one, although the envelopes will not be back with me until too late for the exhibition. This is another good reason why I will only be using them as documentation.
With all this in mind, and in trying to avoid being seduced by beautiful buildings as I was in France, I am choosing mainly larger towns and shopping streets which might be rather ugly. For example starting in Portsmouth:
there is a large square in front of the library. I do not want to go inside a shopping mall but just outside is a possibility. The advantage of this is that it is pedestrian and I have tried to clean in places in Spain and France where cars have come to park.
In Derby too this place could work:
I feel more organised for the final stage but I also need to be. I also rewrote the instructions post French stage. InstructionsforEnglandJune2017, I will revise before I leave but I am hoping these make sense and will aim not to change them for the final leg once I have set off.
One final note in terms of preparation. I think this project illustrates quite well my attitude to digital and non digital technology. I have used digital technology all the way through the planning stage starting from the walking map, through to the gps in the car. For documentation I have also used photoshop for the maps and used video (although filmed by others ) to document the performances. vimeo link. However the work in the gallery once the show is open is very much physical like the work of a cleaner is, using physical objects and old technologies and I think that is how I work in general. I go from the computer to the studio all the time. I have avoided using digital documentation and especially photography other than on social media, webpage and here in the journal. Now I need to update the webpage so the links show a project that is clearly underway.