Brick Yard

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Using bricks as an abundant and readily available material found in a demolished industrial site, several artists were invited to create immediate albeit temporary responses to the surrounding wasteland-like landscape.

Woodlesford, West Yorkshire, (UK)
Participants: Mike Burrell, Felicia Cleveland-Stevens, Alice Lea, Andy Nizinskyj,

Ashleigh Owen, Gaia Rosenberg Colorni, Stuart Russell Brown, Gwilym Sainsbury

Video transcript:

On the 6th March 2011, a group of seven young artists ventured into a brick yard located alongside the Leeds-Liverpool canal in the village of Woodlesford, West Yorkshire.

The piles of discarded bricks presented for the group an extraordinary invitation to reshape the surrounding landscape. As they later observed through browsing Google Map’s history of this particular area, satellite imagery revealed that only a few years earlier, in 2002, those same bricks formed part of a large, industrial complex of buildings.

The land was now sectioned off from public access, with metal gates and warning signs in place to dissuade anyone from accessing the premises. Next to a bold red sign, labelling the site as dangerous was placed another, aimed at prospective housing developers, marketing the territory as a potential residential area. After easily gaining access to the site through some open gates, following the example of a local dog walker, the group came across a peculiar formation: a modestly sized, square wall structure had been erected between two large piles of bricks. Inside it laid an unidentified piece of cloth, presumably used as a blanket, suggesting that the structure may have previously been used as a temporary shelter.

At the time, the group was unaware of the site’s previous history of visitors, which included traveller communities looking to establish settlements. As the group later learnt from both two men sent by the council and subsequently a few members of the West Yorkshire police force, some of the residents whose properties overlooked the area had promptly contacted the local authorities to ensure that the group was not intending to build a house. The group reassured their interlocutors that their intentions were solely artistic ones; they were then permitted, after an agreement of appropriate health and safety conduct, to persevere in their endeavours.

The group had succeeded in building a row of five full-sized terraced houses. Prior to their departure, they ensured that their construction was no greater than two bricks in height, to avoid any risk of injury in the eventuality that any passer-by would come across it and physically engage with it.

One month later, a member of the group returned to Woodlesford, and confirmed that the structure had thus far remained intact.

Brick yard video shown at Iglooism, Hive gallery, with collaborative installation work by Andy Nijinsky and Gaia Rosenberg Colorni.


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Video documentation of discussion and construction process:

Related projects:

Snow frame. December 2010Snow_Frame.html