Yardworks Intervention No 3 – Homebase,Preston

Yesterday went very well at Homebase, lots of people participated and it ended up a bit of a picnic in the middle of Homebase store amid the end of summer sale bbq’s, outdoor furniture and inflatables.

Otherwhere dress

Otherwhere dress

Rachel Riggs, Pat Evans & Rob Wagner

Rachel Riggs, Pat Evans & Rob Wagner

The store manager Rob Wagner was incredibly helpful, hanging all the banners and it was lovely to thank Pat with a big bunch of flowers.

Cotton yard cloths

Cotton yard cloths

My artists statement handout was as follows;
Yardworks
A work in progress intervention by Rachel Riggs
MA Fine Art – site & archive – UCLAN
At Homebase, Queens Retail Park, Preston
Sunday August 9th 2009 1-4pm

Welcome to Homebase for all your DIY, Home & Garden needs, and for one day only an art installation inspired by the site past and present. Yardworks is a site specific project which leads me on a journey of uncovering the past, recognising the present and understanding the future regeneration promised of this empty, light industry waste ground. Once, it was the Yardworks – Horrockses & Sons model site of empirical prosperity, a world unto itself inside the high brick wall encompassing the factories. Now its an unmarked historical site on unnoticed waste ground. All that is physically left are a few sections of brick wall, historical documentation and a scale model of the site

The artist’s research practice involves meeting local people who live next to and work here on the site. As she was in the process of discovering the site, she met Pat Evans working at Homebase. For over a year, she has been interviewing Pat Evans, who was born and raised on Ribbleton St, and worked in the weaving shed at Horrockses as a young woman. The shed was on the same site that the Homebase store is on now.

Hearing about her life working at Horrockses and exploring the site with her memories, marked the artists progress and Pat has become a key character, along with Mr Gillibrand and his fireplace shop, the oldest business still running at the Yardworks site. These two people connect across the site. They join and define this liminal space, full of history unseen and ignored, hidden doors shutting away the past.

Engaging with other peoples experiences within the site, whether visible or invisible, real or imaginary allows access to see the subliminal. People’s collective experience in the space, through interviewing, documentation and intervention, generates a celebration of people, each with their own story. The site can be conceived as a social entity, a community and not simply in terms of environmental or architectural design. Choosing not to work in restrictive traditional institutional spaces but in ‘real’ spaces with ‘real’ people and their lives and stories, creates another kind of language. Rare and privileged moments allow us to see within the usual restraints of conformity and experience how the privacy of imagination flows into public space.

Founded by John Horrocks in 1791, Yardworks was one of the most successful full cotton manufacturing companies in the world, exporting internationally till the 1960’s. The Yardworks dealt with every stage of cotton spinning and weaving. The late modernization of mills resulted in rising production costs, and they were unable to compete in the world market. Yardworks closed in 1962, the last few buildings demolished in 2001.

The intervention includes banners hung in Homebase to proclaim the past and remind us of where we stand. These statements give a us a moment to consider past, present and future as time passes each of us by. A new 6 min film ’always & nowhere’ is also presented , documenting interviews with Pat Evans, and focusing on life for women & children in the mill. The work aims to bring out the feel of the place, its essential tone, as not a bleak place but an enveloping human space waiting for further transformation in the consumerist regeneration of the future.

Special Thanks to Pat Evans & to Homebase, Heather Berrill & Adam Bennett
For further information – http//yardworks.wordpress.com

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