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RESEARCH/RECORD/REMAKE BRUCE DAVIES


RESEARCH/RECORD/REMAKE takes its inspiration from 3 examples of unsanctioned cultural activity [mark m Cornish mining World Heritage site. They are to be found within a 2 mile stretch on the North coast of West Pen Geevor tin mines. This project started with a desire to create a visual work that challenged the hegemony of pe that would underline the importance of re-examining our relationship with those activities. I focussed on graffiti t historical sites. To do this I explored other ways of recording and presenting the visual research by using site sp invasive research methods and techniques. The background for this work emerged from my experiences workin Part of my responsibility during this time was the management, maintenance and interpretation of archaeologic approach an archaeological dig; I set out to take on the documenting this graffiti through careful and non intrusi visible. In some cases just a vague outline of grains of spray paint exists and more than one barely exists at all. record at close quarters the outline of the text. The projects eventual form using documentary photographs as a

Š 2011 Bruce Davies. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author.


making/graffiti] at 3 different archaeologically and geologically renowned sites that form part of the wider nwith, Cornwall. These groups, starting with the most westerly are to be found at Botallack, Levant and ermited activities in the landscape and develop new ways of presenting visual research in a tangible way to argue its relevance as a positive cultural activity which enhances the interpretation of social contexts at pecific, remade visual presentations and photographic documents accumulated through the process of non ng as a warden from 1999 to 2002 for the National Trust on the North coast of West Penwith, Cornwall. cal sites from ancient cairns to sites of industrial archaeology. Much in the same way as archaeologists may ive means, in order to record it for posterity. The graffiti is now is a poor state of repair and some of it barely . I began recording in 2005, before returning in 2007 to undertake an extensive revision of the project to a visual archive which was re-presented as a series of projections in situ at the cliff top site.


Botallack The dressing floor group has four distinct slogans and are listed below in order of appearance at the site from left to right

SEX + DRUGS + MAGGIE THATCHER. LOOK AT THE SUN KERNOW VYS BYKEN! CONSERVATIVES! ENGLISH OUT


On Botallack cliff amongst the consolidated calciners and associated Tin mine buildings overlooking the famous and iconic Crowns mine en Rose colour] and appear in 4 separate places on the partly rough cast concrete walls that enclose the Crown’s dressing floor. The subject m mour made them stand out from the conventional ‘I woz ere’. It was a very evocative/provocative [and funny] statement that for many could of mining history in Cornwall. In view of this I started to plan a visual digital archive that would allow an accurate record of the site, complete reassssing the importance of contentious activity occurring in the landscape. The graffiti occurring at the dressing floors (still) happens in a to preserve a particular set of texts at the site would lead to the end of this interaction and the destruction of others. Signs would be needed removed. However the often harsh natrual elements prevalent at the site appear to this anyway and act as an arbitary censor. This combine completely self regulating space..


ngine houses is a collection of graffiti slogans from the 1980’s. They are spray painted from the same can of paint [a creamy white / English matter to which they refer relates to the 1980’s giving a probable age of around 25 years. The contentious nature of the graffiti and its hud sum up the 1980’s period. Such a striking set of texts added much to the interpretation of the sites context during this devastating period e with re-made graffiti, that would preserve this unique take on the sites history. Further to this was a desire to see how this can assist in dynamic and uncontrolled way that allows you to see the development of a sociological context still occurring. Therefore to actively seek d, graffiti cleaning equipment would be brought in and a budget allocated to ensure that the perpetual application of graffiti is perpetually ed with the over writing, drawing and scratching of characters and pictures with spray paint and scraps of concrete and brick has created a


SEX + DRUGS + MAGGIE THATCHER


Change is inevitable – tidying up is wholly avoidable.

On one visit I watched absent minded school children scratching the floor and walls with an old piece of brick or concrete while listening to an houses too. In order to record the graffiti set I adopted a non invasive approach, striving to avoid any activity that would lead to the [partial or fu stantial interest in the preservation of Cornwall’s mining heritage, in particular the practice of consolidating derelict mine buildings and how this gine houses and chimneys and other architectural relics have been consolidated and are now in a state of preserved dereliction. However suc Graffiti is important to sites that are heavy in consolidation. They represent a vital last link in the development of a site. The National Trust has terpretation of the sites sociological history, their decision to manage the site by non intervention (despite complaints) signals that there is hop ity can be viewed as an unofficial document chronicling the on going cultural change of use and meaning of such sites in the landscape. It bec sure. Each of these groups substantially enriches the interpretation of the historical sites they occur in. The particular way in which they do so is no longer legible and is hardly discernible from the other layers of text that overlay it. The remainder of the group are suffering a similar fate. them upper case] or a small number of grains of spray paint now exists. More than one, for all intents and purposes, is non existent. ‘ENGLIS BY KEN’ is the largest and most prominent of the four and is in the best condition as it is in a more sheltered position saved from the worst of t


ex miner recounting tales from the past. These scratches will last a a long time and featured names, proclaimations and drawings of engine ull] re-in statement or further deterioration of the graffiti. The resulting archive struck me as being particularly relevant considering the subs effects visitor experiences of these sites. Everything has been stopped in time and these sites will no longer perceptibly degrade. The ench an approach applied to other unsanctioned cultural activities in the landscape such as graffiti would not be appropriate in this case I feel. s previously discussed the future of the ‘SDMT› group and its possible removal. However, taking into account how the graffiti enhances the inpe that this will continue to remain as dynamic a place in the future as it has been in the past. The physical remains of this post industrial activcomes an unexpected [and uncontrolled] addition that further facilitates the interpretation of the sites transition from work place to one of leiis both subtle and extreme. Some are hard to ignore, some now barely noticeable at all. The graffiti is now in a much degraded state. ‘SMDT’ . ‘LOOK AT THE SUN’ and ‘CONSERVATIVES!’ are in a similar predicament to ‘SDMT’. In some cases just a vague outline of the text [all of SH OUT’ has been re-emphasised in white spray paint at sometime in the past which is also in an advanced state of decay. ‘KERNOW VYS the inclement weather and protected in part from being in the left hand corner.


KERNOW BYS VYKEN!


CONSERVATIVES


ENGLISH OUT!


LOOK AT THE SUN


Research/Record/Remake concluded with a series of site specific projections in their original setting of remade graffiti form the project archive.


The final stages of the project culminated in a presentation of photographs taken during the research process at the cliff top site. The culmination of the project ended with a site specific presentation of the documentary photographs


Where’s the ‘X’ in ‘SEX’?

I had some difficulty in identifying a number of the letters especially in ‘SDMT’. I had to return on many occasions taking hundreds of photographs made. I was trying to recover a clumsy, ugly script with little acknowledgment to a standardised format. Where is the ‘X’ in ‘SEX’? Where does th can remember ‘CONSERVATIVES!’ had always been somewhat vague due to its eroded state. It appeared to read or indicate, to me at least, som it took a while to realise [and to my disappointment] that it actually said ‘CONSERVATIVES!’ I remember feeling that I really didn’t want it to say th make history fit in with my assumptions. It illuminated how limited knowledge based on the personal bias may take precedence over fact.


s in what became a confusing and misleading process. At the dressing floor with my eye pressed up to the concrete presumptions could not be he cross bar of ‘A’ go or where has it gone? Is that really an ‘E’ or is it an ‘I’? Where does one ‘G’ end and the other one begin? For as long as I mething like ‘(LONG LIVE?)...ELVIS!’ or ‘ELVIS LIVES!’ which seemed in context with the more nutty ‘SEX and MAGGIE’ part. With this in mind he ‘C’ word and favoured a more nutty balance to the more serious nature of the other slogans. The interesting part about this is how I tried to


Levant

Half a mile North along the coast another interesting example of graffiti that was a discovered in 2002 at Levant mine in the tunnel that leads to t fatal mining disaster in 1919. This became another point of reference for the visual research of the project. In the 1960’s when the tunnel to the M that read ‘21 Oct 1919 31 men died in this shaft when the man engine broke’. It was at first thought that it was done in the period following the ac the best way of preserving it. When the man had heard about the interest surrounding this discovery he returned to Levant with the lamp he had contemporary age of the graffiti, the practicalities of preserving it and the relatively low value in which this kind of activity is regarded, no efforts w to the site some 40 years later to ensure that the event would still not be forgotten, still makes it relevant to the sites interprtation and reveals the arises similar to that of the dressing floors at Botallack. Should this get a coat of aspic? Do we suspend this in time? I think this inscription is a re conservation of this singular inscription, where practical, would be no bad thing given that the sensitive nature of the site does not allow for furthe


the man engine shaft. The man engine shaft, used for taking the miners up to or down from the surface to work in the mine, was the scene of a Man Engine shaft was still open an ex miner now living in Marazion used a miners lamp to leave a carbon inscription on the wall of the tunnel ccident which led to the deaths of the 31 men in 1914. On its discovery the National Trust commissioned a team of conservators for advice on used and demonstrated how he had done it. Once he had owned up to his handy work the interest in the graffiti diminished. This was due to the were then made to conserve it and it now barely exists. The practicalities of conserving it aside I would argue, given that someone had returned e importance of the cultural history of the site and their need to reaffirm this in some way. But does it warrant some after care? Here a situation elevant addition to the interpretation of an historical site. Particularly in terms of the tragic circumstances that occurred there. Consequently the er graffiti exchanges.


Reconstruccted graffiti: Man Engine Shaft, Levant Mine


Redrawn Graffiti: Geevor Tin Mine.


Geevor At Geevor mine, particularly in the ‘Dry’ where the miners washed and changed before and after work, graffiti has removed, been redrawn or has been conserved. Some graffiti written in chalk has been redrawn as it had faded and some has been removed as it was considered as obscene. Some artefacts [girlie pin ups/ calendars] have also been removed following complaints. The problem with removing or sanitising certain elements such as these is that it can lead to confusing interpretation of events. In 100 hundred years will we think that miners were politically correct workers? Perhaps not. The redrawing of some sets of chalk graffiti considerably enhances the interpretation of the site and is a good example of appropriate and sensitive handling of what has become an alternative record of activity at the site.


Replaced Calendar: The Dry, Geevor Tin Mine.


New Graffiti on burnt out car: a contempoary take on SDMT


Contemporary graffiti: Botallack.


Contemporary graffiti: Geevor Tin Mine


SITE MAP: GRAFFITI LOCATIONS


Bruce Davies has an established and dynamic practice that has become notable for the extensive platforms he has created for the presentation of his work and formulation of his ideas. His interests in exploring practical applications for contemporary art, visual enquiry and research are prominent in his site specific explorations of contemporary land use. Recognition of the contexts of place play a fundamental part in the success of these often ambitious land based and urban projects that have been staged both across the UK and internationally. He is based in West Cornwall, UK.


RESERCH/RECORD/REMAKE examines the heritage industrys efforts to interpret links with the past by examining graffitis potential to enhance the sociological interpretation of an historic site. The site of this enquiry lies on the edge of Cornish Mining heritage deep in West Cornwall. Working from an archaeological perspective the project adopts a non-invasive approach to recording and rediscovering the disappearing graffiti and concludes with a presentation of the visual research via documentary photographs, site specific projections and a series of remade digital images of the work in situ.

RESERACH/RECORD/REMAKE  

RESERCH/RECORD/REMAKE examines the heritage industrys efforts to interpret links with the past by examining graffitis potential to enhance t...

RESERACH/RECORD/REMAKE  

RESERCH/RECORD/REMAKE examines the heritage industrys efforts to interpret links with the past by examining graffitis potential to enhance t...

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