No Fixed Abode


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The houseboat fabricated by No Fixed Abode, Dan Simpkins and Penny Whitehead was a scale model of the defunct Green Bank marketing suite, visible across the river from Project Space Leeds (PSL). Referring to this show-home (that since Green Bank’s demise functions only as an image of what it could have been) the work questioned the narrative of regeneration surrounding PSL’s site.

Whitehall Waterfront follows the trend towards high-rise, luxury living common in city centres across the U.K. Previous wastelands of Leeds’ industrial past are brought up for development; flats and offices crowd the river and canal banks and the waterways remain the only slither of space in public ownership. The raft at the base of their construction was a symbol of survival, of beating the odds. The artists suggest this be taken as a metaphor for the often precarious position of artist-led initiatives. It could, in the current economic climate equally represent the developers and businesses trying to stay afloat. There is a symbiotic but often tense relationship between culture and regeneration when artists are instrumental in uplifting an area but ultimately priced out of the market.

As a somewhat symbolic conclusion to the final weeks of the show, a group of artists inhabiting the space which looked out onto the river facing Green Bank were asked to leave as the company was retracting and were forced to transfer their working offices into the space that they had previously dedicated to art.

We the Others: Marketing Suite was part of Morphic Resonance curated by Zoe Sawyer at Project Space Leeds. The show developed from 25th March to 27th June 2009.

The term ‘Morphic Resonance’ describes ‘the basis of memory in nature… the idea of mysterious telepathy-like interconnections between organisms and of collective memories within species’ (Rupert Sheldrake 1981).