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Shaun C. Badham
An Edgeland Plot

The Old Waterworks, North Road, Westcliff on Sea
PV Friday 31st May
1st to 2nd June 

In late 2022 artists Shaun C Badham and Josh Langan began working on a project, which at its core was the ambition to self-build a cabin on a piece of land which has either been abandoned, disused, or land banked.

In October 2022 Tidehouse X Strawberry Concorde commenced on a half derelict historic mill, and the cabin utilised primarily on-site materials, which remained after the demolition, such as timber, brick and tin. The site is being land banked by the Inner London Group and the cabin was destroyed by a neighbouring landowner.

In April 2023 Herons Stream X Strawberry Concorde commenced on a small piece of woodland, which had been left to deteriorate, with litter and fly tipping. This particular site is sandwiched between a railway track, an A-road, a power substation and a small river; a piece of fringe land, which for all intents and purposes had been forgotten. This cabin was built from all reclaimed materials including partly painted plywood, timber, found windows, a sloped roof covered in roofing felt, and a sliding door. This cabin remains and will evolve and adapt over time.

The site responsive cabins are the collaborative artwork, while individual creative outputs present an insight into the artists own interests and motivation to undertake the project. For Shaun his ongoing research into the policy’s and acts which led to the demise of the last true self-build, back to the land, DIY community in England, The Plotlanders is a key motivation. Furthermore, the same acts still have a significant impact on why we have a lack of DIY self-build and community owned land in England today. As the Plotlanders built legally on redundant land, what does it mean to attempt to do this today (even illegally) when the policies which were created to make the Plotlanders illegal are still upheld.

Shaun records the process of building using a digital head camera, capturing all building activity through his hands. These videos have been inserted into ‘sliding doors’, a method utilised in Heron Stream X Strawberry Concorde. In reflection of the past destruction of Tidehouse, Shaun has depicted both cabins pictorially by engraving them into old glass windows. Similar to all materials utilised in this exhibition, including the etched windows, they all have the potential to be utilised/inserted into future cabins, while acknowledging the legacy of past builds. The passing series combines familiar cabin build materials; wood, roofing felt and clout nails, a meeting of roof meets floor, accompanied by a segment of a map burnt/drawn into the wood. These maps are from the Laindon plotlands whom lost their land and homes through the compulsive purchase schemes led by Basildon Development Corporation who used a non-personal numbering system to survey the land; no names were included.

Photos: Anna Lukala