Monday, 23 January 2012

Heathrow photo tales (post 1 of 3).

Early this morning I returned from the Grow Heathrow 'artists residency' called Resistance is Beautiful. It was a fantastic week on a remarkable, beautiful and thought-provoking squatted site, with interesting, diverse and 'full-on respect' people, and I did various drawings and activities that I am writing up on paper now.

In the next post I will feature scans of my drawings, and the 3rd one will be a walk+write psychogeographical ramble I did yesterday.

There's talk of a shared tumblr being set up which is here, and in the meantime, here is a photo diary of my week down south :

I got the train down on Monday - passing Durham (above), & Ferrybridge (below)

Walking south from the nearest station, signs of resistance (literally) appear as you approach Sipson village, which will be ruined by the proposed 3rd runway for Heathrow airport, and is already suffering from the effects.

Having a bit of an explore of the area before I went on site, a flock of lapwings flew over my head (later in the week, I interrupted a meeting to shout 'lapwings!' when they passed again!)

One of the home-made houses on site (squatted land, previously used as a dumping ground, now being converted back into a growing site, green and fertile).

Tuesday, I went for a dusk walk to see the areas east and south of the site, that I had not yet walked through. The rather different aesthetics of transport infrastructure:

And the village of Sipson's location within it.

Next to the squatted site, which once was a vinery, full of glasshouses, there is a much more recently abandoned garden centre (ruined by the airport expansion). We explored, and it was a quite powerful experience, triggering ideas of band performance, videos etc.. On the day of our 'opening', we decided to stick to the area already being transformed, but if there's some derelict or waste land near you, I do recommend you explore it!

This here's Ruffian, one of the 'artists' on site. He likes to chew wood.

Postering for the exhibition/open day on Saturday.

The squatted site is extensive, with much of it reclaimed by nature - these 10-foot brambles are actually inside the old vinery greenhouses.

Ex-battery chickens on site - one died of natural causes while we were there.

Some of the paintings and thoughts-in-process we worked on during the week:

They were displayed in this greenhouse, which is the most restored and lived in (an insulated kitchen & lounge is through the door at the end). When Grow Heathrow moved on site it was all smashed up and full of trash. Bit by bit they restored the panes and made it liveable. It's a remarkable place now.

The residents installed a wind turbine on the Sunday, and by the end of the week were pleased to find it powering their batteries successfully.

Saturday's open day: Rose painted at the front entrance as she welcomed visitors. Note the car seats, remaining from when the previous landowners used to scrap cars on the (greenbelt) site.

Neighbours and friends eating pizzas made in the clay oven.

Conversations held in one of the old glasshouses of the 'back lands'.

The front gate.

Some guerrilla gardening in the village to end the day, as soundtracked by our on-site band.

Called the Dumpstarz, they created 2 songs during the week, and here did us one last performance as it got dark, getting the crowd to bang on every piece of bangable piece of trash they could find.

More to come!


  1. other blog posts include -

  2. and residents' summary -