Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Field Study's man is lost in Walthamstow

Scan of package posted to David Dellafiora/Journal of Field Study International, early December 2010.
It contained 100 A5 double sided copies of a report for the journal.

A Field Study Emanation by the Theatre of Names and Addresses

Field Study's 'mane17 in Walthamstow’

In 2010, I established an idea of the periphery of Walthamstow, and in particular, what nourishment of sorts can be foraged for along it's edge. I am now charged with the task of turning inwards, to follow my nose towards the heart of the town's darkness. The pickings of 2010, the twigs and sprigs of the mellifluent hedgerows, have nourished me with a hunger to keen my olfactory sense. The journey begins with visual confusion; a map of the area shows an edge in red, and in blue, and in black. The truth, more accurately expressed in the report, is the lines are effectively all black against a white background; the truth in black and white has never been so confusing and I am lost before starting. The area is occupied by raving Situationists, who take pleasure in misdirecting strangers, so I (Field Study's 'man in Walthamstow') may have a difficult expedition to endure.

Map of nowhere in particular from 'Nowhere to be found' for E17 Art Trail 2010.


Your mane17 wants to know where in Walthamstow are the public paths exclusive to walkers?

He believes there is a poem or song to made by walking and joining the scattered and dwindled pedestrian ways of E17. This mythical labyrinth is a continuous scented corridor where, amongst others, 'dweams'1, reside - some of them fetid, effluvial; a veritable and rank thesaurus of smells.

1 'Dweam' - pronounced, "dream" - dead white artistic male

How will our man in Walthamstow (mane17) communicate with the denizens of this warren - clairvoyance? Listen carefully. Paul Klee, speaking from his paradise back garden says,

"I belong not only to this life. I live as well with the dead, as with those not born. Nearer to the heart of creation than others, but still too far."

(Paul Klee via Wikipedia 22/05/07)

Ah well, the ‘undweams’ then. And how will despatches be made from nowhere near the heart of creation? Our mane17 intends reviving connections with the post-box, portal to a world of others and otherness via the Theatre of Names and Addresses. Within this global round, actions, movements, performances and happenings can be rendered as packages to create a worldwide ‘thuddery’ of post(al) meetings and visits.

Post Box Action Nowhere Near Prospect Hill, December 2010

Below is an image of a less than recent package, one of 16, which when all together formed a complete circle. The packages were posted around the world - including one to Field Study. When, ‘Theatre of Names and Addresses’ met ‘Field Study’

A sturdy man of heat dressed flies and steed.

Theatre of Names and Addresses - Post Box Performance - Boxed Book 2002/2003.

Field Study’s mane17 not only has the sometimes onerous task of communing with the abundance of dead/un-dead canonry but also the task of ‘engaging’ with living cultures here, locally and further afield. This involves the risk of getting caught in the cross fire and mayhem of iconoclastic discourse. Recently I witnessed a Mr D Mabb sticking a florally decorated wellington boot into a slide show at the William Morris Gallery; this was not a pretty sight even if the boot hailed from the venerable Victoria and Albert Museum gift shop.

I have done some research into public art in Walthamstow and the London Borough of Waltham Forest as a whole, asking how easy (or otherwise) it is getting access to its public art works e.g. ‘Linked’ by Graham Miller. I have asked what sort of curatorial care and knowledge there is of and for the public art works around the borough e.g. the sculptures on the exterior wall of the core of a heart of darkness; the council chamber in the prestigious listed Walthamstow Town Hall. This research has resulted in some artist talks and walks for the E17 Art Trail.

Could Walthamstow ever be a public art free zone?

It is worth keeping a close eye on how neighbouring boroughs are supporting public art particularly at this time when, nationwide, local authority expenditure is subject to ‘swingeing cuts’.

Below are scans of each side of a recently found leaflet promoting projects and exhibitions in Hackney.

Go to for more information.

POSTED and FARM:SHOP are particularly interesting to me and I hope to visit them in the New Year.

Go to for more information.



Photo: Susan Hartigan.

Above are two images from a mail art documentation produced by David Dellafiora for a Field Study emanation, Splendid Lights. Top is the project invitation, bottom an image from the Splendid Lights event. If the invitation/project brief (top) isn’t readable, participants were invited to decorate or treat domestic light bulbs and send them to David who displayed them ‘off’ and illuminated at ‘Madame Lillies’ - which, I think, might have been an empty or partially empty shop on Stoke Newington Church Street in Hackney, London.

At the time I worked in a resource centre for physically disabled adults. I encouraged some of the centre users to decorate and contribute bulbs. Each contributor received a documentation in which their contribution was credited. There was a lot of enthusiasm for more participation in art projects - public and otherwise.

The resource centre was run by Hertfordshire Social Services. At that time there was concern about exclusion - that day centres did not include all the service users whose religious, ethnic and racial identities did not match those of a dominant culture. The involvement of folk in Splendid Lights was seen as positive implementation of a policy of multiculturalism. I still have doubts about this interpretation.

One of my doubts concerns how social therapeutic processes with many dimensions, facets and restrictions can be reduced to institutional totems. In so doing they may represent processes or products which are the very opposite (of outcomes) of policies aiming to achieve inclusion for marginalised minorities.

Below is a photogram of the light bulb I contributed to Splendid Lights. I smashed a dead bulb and painted the glass fragments black. I stuck the fragments to a live bulb using super glue. The bonds held however they were fragile and I tried a number of other glues and resins; each with concerns about fumes and other reactions between the hot bulb and glues.

There were several narratives including jokes e.g. about fragile objects breaking in the post. I liked the idea of a moment of illumination breaking the darkness - and of associated word games particularly involving idioms - the shedding of light, skin, and darkness. It was a sort of reduced version of Cornelia Parker’s, ‘Cold Dark Matter’ in which the artist blew up a shed, suspended all the debris in a gallery space at the centre of which hung a single light bulb casting an array of shadows.

Lightbulb. Photogram - David Dellafiora. Bulb - Julian Beere.

Your mane17 is sniffing around in the darkness of his limited imagination searching for an idea; a path to follow to the heart of nowhere near ......

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Our man in Walthamstow howls at the moon

Walthamstow has an archipelago of public footpaths with little or no access to motor vehicles. Situationists might think of these paths as the remnants of a language of place; a poem or song missing lines and, in some neighbourhoods, whole verses.
The paths can be serene fragments; interludes offering respite and sanity in a locale (or consciousness) addled by the domination of the motor car. Some of the paths appear unsigned, nameless; nowhere between somewhere or other - liminal passages. How did I make a personal discovery of another new path this evening?
Was I lured and led, dog (or fox) like, by my snout to this path’s soup - no - this path’s virtual unguent of fats, Sunday roasted, back door belched, a milieu of fugitive kitchen aromas?
Earlier in the day I’d watched foxes sniffing at my (landlord’s) snow and ice clad back garden. They pecked around for the mealworms, morsels I’d scattered for the song birds. In the frosted winter daylight, the foxes were quiet and bedraggled. There was none of their balmy summer evening caterwauling to disturb the peace of this wintry hinterland.
I was bored and appalled by the confines of the centrally heated air in my (landlord’s) bed sitting room. I set out for a walk to get some fresh air, to follow my nose, to inhale; nowhere smells like Walthamstow. So what sort of dog am I?
And who was I via the diversions and delusion of this particular evening excursion? Perhaps I was ‘Guy de Bord’, seeking astonishment on the terrain of boredom, venturing as far as an affected appropriation of ‘flanerie’. I berated and resisted the surreal labyrinth of Reynard the Foxes’ pungent imagination; until, that is, I lost myself (?) on a path between a Tennessee Fried Chicken joint and the Walthamstow Spiritualist Lyceum Church. I was nowhere to be found on all fours, ‘sniffing at every risk filled corner for a rhyme’.
Having given up on reason, I fancied myself as ‘Charles Baudelaire’, ‘flaireur’ reincarnate, sniffing on a chicken bone, yapping at the nearly full moon.