Paul Conneally and Jemma Bagley return to Watermead Estate, Thurmaston, revisiting the site that originally led to “The Sound Of Water” a psychogeographic / splacist exploration of Thurmaston, in the Borough of Charnwood, Leicestershire through a series of haiku walks, workshops and interventions with people that live and / or work in the area.
The Sound of Water was a piece of public art originally coming out of a Section 106 planning requirement for public art as part of the development of the old Merrimans site next to the A46 in Thurmaston into the new ‘Watermead’ housing estate.
Conneally and Bagley were commissioned through Charnwood arts via Charnwood Borough Council to work with “community groups” to produce haiku like texts that could be incorporated into metal works of art by Richard Thornton in the new housing development.
Conneally and Bagley decided to approach the Thurmaston Action Group, that was actively campaigning against the ‘Watermead’ development to explore the area and generate textual material. The developers were not told that the group working with the artists to put texts into the new site were actively opposed to and campainging against the development.
Approached by the BBC to talk about the project Conneally felt he would get a better understanding of what he was actually doing by asking one of the action group to speak, alongside Bagley, instead of himself and the interview itself became part of the piece: Sound of Water Interview
Conneally & Bagley encouraged the community group to design their own walks through and around Thurmaston. Conneally then joined the walks and worked with participants to write haiku and haiku-like poems. The poems went on to form a book The Sound of Water which was distributed free across the community.
The Sound of Water - Poetry Exploration
Conneally then took fragments of the poems and worked with sculpter, Richard Thornton, who designed and made metal benches incorporating the texts which are now installed in the open space / play area at the heart of the development:
Fajitas In A Teepee sees the artists returning to the now complete new development and working with the new residents during an afternoon that was intended to bring the new community together. Fajitas In A Teepee is an “intervention renga” - non of the praticipants set out to write a renga - they were randomly approached by Conneally (Little Onion) in roving renga master mode to link with and shift away from the previously written verse as the renga built up on recycled cardboard around the playground in the centre of the estate. The artists took time to engage with and discuss resident and workers feelings about living and working in and around the new Watermead development including how the design and build elements affected their mood and style of living.
Fajitas in a Teepee - Paul Conneally 2010Fajitas In A Teepee
Paul Conneally September 11 2010
Music: Judge Smut Dub by Dum Dum Dum 1979 - P. Conneally/W. Buchanon
Intervention renga with Watermead Estate community Thurmaston, Leicestershire.
The video of the boards that were written in situ and attached to the wooden fence around the playground and the renga text itself are not the finished piece. The piece was and is the interactions in and with the space and the people on the day.
We exchange places with spaces and in doing so both are changed.