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I stumbled on Martin Firrell’s (http://www.martinfirrell.com) work today whilst looking through an old copy of Creative Review and it seemed to strike a few similarities to what I have been thinking about recently and also our Sheffield provisional construction.

His work appears projected, printed or placed in urban environments as public art. The work is predominantely carefully composed captions or statements that he sees as ‘life-affirming interventionist pieces’ which cover topics from climate change to the Iraq war. The obvious similarity with our sheffield cinema is the media and technique of getting the messages into public space. It is an idea that has been tested before in more permanent ways and with varying levels of design and success such as the new poems around large Sheffield buildings in super size font and fragmented verse on apartment balconies and ironmongery. Firrell himself said in the interview from 3 years ago that his dream job would be to work with the manhole covers for london sewers which shows a move to these more permanent creations and away from transient installations that fade in and out.

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However the idea of permanent installations interests me less aspart of the excitement of our sheffield cinema was the uncertainty of how long we would be able to work in a place and how many people would see it in that time. This made the process as well as the product into an engaging exercise and it was due to our impulsive arrangements and decisions. It could also be argued that what we were doing became more visible to people as it was never constant and had to searched for, dug out and found.

“I put a picture up on a wall. Then I forget there is a wall. I no longer know what is behind this wall…I also forget the picture, I no longer look at it, I no longer know how to look at it…Pictures efface walls. But walls kill pictures. So we need continually to be changing, either the wall or the picture, to be forever putting other pictures up on the walls, or else constantly moving the picture from one wall to another.” Georges Perec, Species of spaces and other pieces

“Art has a tremendous power to charge architecture and change our understanding of space, but that is usually limited in the way that people relate to art in their own homes. In a gallery context shows open and close and the art changes, and our understating of the space transforms along with it. At home, on the other hand, most people don’t change their art.”
John Pawson, Themes and Projects

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