The next stage of the Hexopolis project is to present the work done thus far.
I plan to do this by producing a new artists’ book and holding exhibition combining research, ideas and contributions. This is dependent on finding some funding.
For one my other projects, Standard Measures, I’ve been making measurements in jelly.
Standard Measures evolved to provide traders, builders, engineers, with benchmarks for distance, weights, and volumes. Disputes and deviations were arbitrated in accordance with the Weights and Measures Acts. The Standard Measures are emblems of both shared need and imposed law.
Due to the reference object, upon which measures are based, changing over time or becoming damaged, supervision and maintenance of the object and replicas are needed. The idea is for the measures to be permanent and static, an unchanging reference for public use.
My units of measure were set in edible jelly - individual, wobbly, consumable, fruit-flavoured gelatin desserts.
I made 10 plaques, each representing 10 units, measurable multiples of 100 jelly units. Their decimal markings, 1 and 0, have reference to binary calculations. They were placed over the now unused imperial Standard Measures, at Sheffield Town Hall.
For Polling Day I revisited Charter Square to hold a rememberance action. Slogans, referencing the Chartists' Six Points, were chalked on the paving slabs.
Allthough it was built with ramps, rather than access for all adaptations being awkwardly retro-fitted, like many underpasses, it is little-used.
Charter Square is a crumbling Brutalist development, notable for its hexagonal paving and tiling. It is a barren memorial to the Sheffield Chartists.
The Chartists demanded the Six Points of the Charter, now considered core tenets of democracy.
- SECRET BALLOT
- VOTES FOR ALL
- EQUAL VOTING AREAS
- PROPER POLLS
- NO SAFE SEATS
- PLEB M.P.s
Now uploaded my report on the Hexopolis show at Pages, which was held at The Tetley, Leeds, at my site, Katya Robin Studio. It includes some of my thoughts behind the unusual dislay methods. The Tetley has very good wheelchair access in my experience, and although Gallery 1 isn't huge, I was keen for people with mobility difficulties to be able to get in and look around.
Included in the exhibition were a selection of my research papers. These were suspended on a clothes rail to (a) invite browsing and (b) to be within reach for mobility-aid users. I'm fed up with not being able to see work displayed too high and didn't want to inflict this on others. The curating interns hung the framed works on the wall at eye level for a 5' person, and understood my reasoning for setting them lower than is the norm.
Included in the show, were five hexagon seats which I designed and had fabricated. I saw lots of bums on seats, as intended. It was a dense show, lots to look through and various activities for people.
Lots of people enthusiastically completed and displayed the participation sheets. I've also received ideas about urban hexagons by email, @Hexopolis and through the open call at Curator Space. I need to take some time over these contributions, and consider what to do next as it's an open process, led by what the responses and research brings in.
I’m showing my thoughts and interpretations of hexagons and the city at Pages | Leeds International Artists’ Book Fair, exhibition continues until 22 March.
I’m also opening up my research project for crowd-sourced ideas and contributions.
Join in the public participation at The Tetley, see venue website for access details. At the opening (6-9pm, Fri 6 March) there will be paper crafts, making hexagon love letters and hexaflexagons.
Or you can participate via the Hexopolis callout at CuratorSpace.
It’s intended to be open and unprescriptive. You can either print the downloadable sheet as a basis, or just draw a hexagon on whatever surface suits your idea best. It doesn’t have to be a regular hexagon. No need to send in your original, a photo or scan is fine.
It’s about collecting and sharing ideas, different interpretations, and connections. It’s a Hexopolis in itself: people freely contributing observations about hexagons and cities.
Keywords: participatory art, urban hexagons, visual art research, crowd-sourced art, open practice.
Awareness of hexagonal pattern and structures in the city crept up on me. It was through little explorations around the city centre that the patterns and shapes got into me.
There is nothing aimless about my exploration of the city. It is hemmed in by access limitations. The quality of the pavements, do the dropped curbs connect, or leave mobility-aid users stranded disconnected from onward journey?
It’s all about advance assessment. Might the return journey be too long, too steep? I cannot risk sudden exhaustion, or my batteries getting discharged. Always erring on the side of caution, missing out on the stimulation of free-form exploration and risk.
I liked walking Pablo the dog around town because it’s more reliably accessible. The city may not seem a natural space to wander and exercise your dog. But it’s a stimulating environment for doggie Parkour and canine-led psychogeography.
Avoiding the crowded shopping areas we explored the lesser-used but still accessible back roads, looking for low walls for agility, stalking pigeons. We circled the city’s fountains, Pablo cantering, my mobility aid set to ‘hare’. It was due to trundling around, ambling along with the dog, or you could call it going for a dérive, that I chanced upon the in-between spaces in the city that I’d previously actively ignored.
Keywords: access, limitations, pavements, cities, urban environment, dog, independence, psychogeography, dérive.
At HEXOPOLIS HQ we’re getting ready for an exhibition about our on-going research, highlighting key themes in omnipresent hexagons. Once you start looking, you may notice they are everywhere, near and far, ubiquitous and astonishing.
At Saturn's North Pole there is a hexagonal vortex of cloud larger than Earth. Flat-pack furniture is typically held together with hexagon socket bolts and assembled with a free Allen (hex) key.
Hexagons are currently a big design trend: hexagon wallpaper, hexagon bathroom tiles, hexagon seats, hexagon snack foods, hexagonal patterns in online design, and even hexagon drones. What is it with this nexus of hexagons?
During the exhibition and Hexopolis project we will be collecting and examining hexagons in search of their implicit message, and our pervasive interest in them.
Have you spotted any hexagons lately?
You will now !
Keywords: hexagons, everyday, participatory art, cultural research
I am leading a project called HEXOPOLIS. This is an invented term, assembled from ancient Greek:
HEX meaning 6
-OPOLIS meaning city-state, run by its citizens.
Hexopolis is a long-term research and participatory art project about engagement within urban life. Using the hexagon as a framework, the project considers and promotes fresh appreciation of urban living.
It is a development of my artist's book' Charter Square Sheffield Rising' which links the now decaying 1960 Brutalist underpass development with the pro-democracy Chartist movement of 1838.
Charter Square features hexagonal paving and ramps, making it accessible (to a degree - literally) to wheelchair users. I am making the conceptual link between political democracy and physical democracy as expressed through accessible urban public spaces.
I see the hexagon used as an architectural trope to express utopian modernism. However, Charter Square is now crumbling. Consequently over the next year I will be documenting it and other examples of urban hexagons, and undertaking contextual research.
In parallel, I am leading a participatory art project on Hexopolis. I have been commissioned by Bloc Projects (Sheffield) to host an Assembly event in March 2015, which I am using as the platform to engage other artists to develop and host these activities.
Ironically, I am stuck in an open-ended NHS queue for assessment for a powered mobility aid. That’s how it rolls.