Tucked away from noisy frenzied clamour
of traffic on the grimy Grays Inn Road,
a green serene oasis, to retreat
from frantic anxious living, slow the pace,
pause to take a breath of air, among
those who, once like us, now breathe no more,
lying in the gardens, unaware
that as they mingle with the earth, they feed,
become the grass where now the living lie,
the lucky living, trying to break free,
and quietly unravel tangled minds
opening like buds into the sun,
expanding, mingling present, future, past,
under whispering leaves, while summer lasts.
The site for this project was St George’s Gardens in Bloomsbury, a beautiful old burial site in the centre of London. It is a major part of life for many people who live and work in the area, and a pedestrian thoroughfare between Grays Inn Road and Judd Street. It is for its transient nature that I chose and developed the analogy of St George’s with the right coronary artery, exploring the history of the gardens and the anatomy of the heart.
For me, this project was about trying to develop a method of working, that was both personal and used found text and images; developing a method of investigation as well as a graphic aesthetic. By drawing the analogy between the heart and the history of St George’s, and exploring every possible connection between the two topics, I came to learn about various subjects including the poetry of John Cornford, the development of anatomy, the design of headstones, typography and the regulations governing burial grounds in London.
Following the investigations into St George’s Gardens I developed a series of broadsheets with my findings. Each sheet tells a story. And each story tells us about a journey, of fluids, of people, of ideas. I hope that each ones teaches us something new along the way; about using the city, and our experience of it, to encourage us to constantly appreciate the world around us and learn from it.
Whilst the final broadsheets are intended as pieces of art (or ‘graphic broadsheets’) in their own right – telling us the (or, a) story of St George’s Gardens, the accompanying book shows the process through which these individual sheets were pieced together and the reasoning behind many of the apparent tangents. Ultimately, the final pieces are envisioned to be replaced back on to the site, projected onto the headstones that have been rubbed blank over time, becoming the canvas for a new story.
pal·imp·sest, noun [mid 17th century: via Latin from Greek palimpsestos, from palin ‘again’ + psestos ‘rubbed smooth.’] a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain.
This project was the final submission in my 2nd year of the BSc Architectural Studies Project X program at the Bartlett, UCL. You can see the Summer Show catalogue here.