As a culminative presentation of works to conclude project MORNING the installation comprises of an original Moon Probe Sculpture painted in a UV neon paint enabling the structure to glow under UV light. The sculpture is accompanied by a reclaimed and restored bench, drawings, a research folder, video, retina polaroids, video, and the MORNING publication. The publication features images referencing the past, present and future histories of Laindon, and includes a commissioned text from Stephanie Sutton titled From Plotlands to Playgrounds and an interview between project curator Warren Harper and artist Shaun C Badham.
Throughout the exhibition I ran a series of talks in the MORNING installation. Below are the descriptions and the audio recordings of the talks.
Talk: Changing Face of Basildon over the last 150 years
Ken will explore the Plotlands a rural community the resided in Basildon, Essex area from 1890 to 1970. Ken will commence with the changing farming environment, the plotland development, to the rise of the Basildon Development Corporation with the Basildon New Town. The primary emphasis will be on Laindon and Langdon Hills, the type of buildings, facilities and in some cases lack of.
Ken is a retired finance director of a small public company. Ken’s interest in Local History has led him to Chair groups such as Laindon and District Community Archive and Basildon Borough Heritage Group. Ken is author of several books on WW1 and 2 and local famous people.
Talk: From Plotlands to Playgrounds
This talk will explore the role of childhood and play in the new towns programme, with specific reference to the 1970s climbing frames at the centre of MORNING. Stephanie offers a site specific and historical point of view, focusing on Laindon in Basildon, from the plotlands communities, new towns experiment, to the present day.
Stephanie is a curator, writer and researcher, working across art, design and architecture. Her research has focused on post-war architecture, urban history and the material culture of childhood. She has worked with organisations including RIBA, Focal Point Gallery, Camden Arts Centre, V&A Museum of Childhood, the Royal College of Art, The Twentieth Century Society and Tate. Stephanie holds an MA in Design History from the RCA/V&A and is currently undertaking a collaborative PhD at Queen Mary, University of London and the V&A Museum of Childhood, entitled Adventures in the City: The Politics and Practice of Children’s Adventure Play in Britain, c. 1955 – 1997.
In conversation: Leisure and Community
Grant and Shaun will take part in discussion around topics such as the town of Basildon, notions of collaboration, reaching a consensus, compromise, bureaucracy and working with artists.
Grant is currently the acting Leisure Development manager for Basildon Borough Council and undertaking Community Development and Leadership at London Metropolitan University.
Grant has worked with numerous local communities to identify deficits and opportunities. He utilizes an asset-based approach to collectively co-design solutions to tackle and seize them.
MORNING is a long-term art project that attempts to identify the correlation between a series of climbing frames, designed in the 1970s & situated in Victoria Park, Laindon in Essex, with the area’s inclusion in the Basildon New Town experiment, and their simultaneous periods of change. When peeling back the layers of history that can be found in Victoria Park one can begin to learn about Basildon– from the Plotlands to the New Town experiment.
MORNING’s aims were to consider this history while setting out to save and restore the park’s heritage climbing frames, giving them a new lease of life. They will be painted in a UV sensitive paint, so when a UV torch is shone on them at night, they will glow.