|Searching for ‘finds’ creates a different kind of looking and being in the city - observation, scanning, close to the ground, gleaning. Which in turn leads to encounters, engagement, adventures, stories - a 'turning over' or examination, literally. Finding is anti-commerce - we are inculcated/necessitated to buy as a way to exist in public space - the found object is a testament to this purchasing and consumption, its trace - but also proposes a challenge to the imperative to buy and own or choose. Finding is free, is random, possibly dirty, always unregulated!
Our walk, and the objects that we find, propose a different way to exist in the urban environment, one which seeks to look again at possibly familiar places, to uncover the overlooked and extraordinary that can be found in the marginal, obscure or discarded - be that 'street gems' on the roadside, or stunning views emerging from the grimiest corners.
Although walkwalkwalk is rooted in Bethnal Green, projects and opportunities have led us to explore other areas of London. The resulting objects are particular to their locale: the chip fork; the metal disk; the roller shutter; and the champagne bottle of the East End are contrasted by an apparent dearth of objects in Kensington and Chelsea , closer looking is needed to uncover chips from paving slabs worth £100 per m2; a fragment of a love letter; an oyster shell. Finds are detritus, discarded, waste - but reveal occupations, passtimes, passages, demographics - and deny explanations or certainty. They are a trace of human presence.
Once found these objects provide a method of uncovering - and inventing - histories and mythologies of the area. This archaeology often finds form in a performative context, for example at Camden Arts Centre in 2006 , where an installation of the found objects became the focus of an ‘anti-antiques-roadshow’ discussion and debate around particular items and their provenance.
In turn the objects and performance generate, or intertwine with, stories - both oral history, repeated to whoever will listen, embellished, passed on - and text. Text, in its ephemeral form as fly posters, is returned to the routes from where the stories originated, and more recently, appears in permanent manifestations as artworks for Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel.
GB, July 2010
Our collecting of found objects, and the resulting growing collection, has played a key role in walkwalkwalk events including: