Dwelling: A Visual Gazetteer

Dwelling: A Visual Gazetteer is an artist book bringing together the work of 9 contemporary visual artists (including yours truly) reflecting on Leeds as a contemporary cityscape.

The project was initiated and produced by Sarah Spanton, a fellow artist working out of East Street Arts, and maps and tracks buildings by reference to not only a specially drawn city centre map, but also to the Leeds mini A-Z. I like to think of someone taking this idiosyncratic gazetteer, and trundling around the city armed with the A-Z, and spotting the real-life versions of the places imaged within the book.

I was delighted to be assigned Candle House (LS1 4GH) as my subject. It is an quirky and innovative piece of local architecture looking a bit like the Leaning Tower of Pisa with its clever leaning trompe l’oeil brick and stone cladding effect. After gazing at it for some considerable length of time in order to draw it, I found myself swaying in the breeze as the clouds above rushed by at a dizzying speed.

The book was launched last week on the thirteenth floor of a tower office block in Leeds. For overseas readers, that’s pretty tall for a provincial office block in the UK, and with 360* views across the city, we could make use of the Gazetteer without stepping outside.

Best of all, pens were supplied to allow anyone to draw a few more buildings on the windows. It resulted in some magical and intriguing effects: just look at the photo above. It reminds me of  works from the 60s by Niki de Saint Phalle.

Sarah Spanton is a director of  Waymarking, which is both a catalyst and an engine for exploring performance/the performative in place-making/place-shaping; making connections and enabling dialogue between disciplines; creating the context and conditions for innovative experimental contemporary practice

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