There are places in the towns and cities where you live that exist not by planned design, but by circumstance. Their elusive ambience attracts those with nowhere else to go, and those who wish to go elsewhere.
overlooked bypassed unwatched detached unconsidered shadowed
They offer respites from society and routine. They are found by necessity, by those driven by desire, more than destination. Shadowed Spaces is a tour of nooks and crannies like these, in your towns and cities: forgotten steps that lead nowhere, alleyways, old railway tunnels. We’ll place musical performances in these spaces that will hopefully help us to think about the continued need for a sense of privacy in public.
In the mid 70’s academic and (amongst other things) the architecture critic of The Village Voice, Michael Sorkin collected an influential series of essays under the title ‘Indefensible Space’. In it, he discussed the move towards an approach to town planning that attempted to design-out spaces in which furtive activities could be fostered; a kind of architecture of security, you might say.
At the same time, and I suppose gloriously counter to this argument, Denis Wood (at the time a recently graduated geographer, or more particularly psychogeographer) wrote an impassioned essay, titled ‘Shadowed Spaces’. It was an ardent and poetic defense of our need to feel a sense of privacy in public, and the subsequent need for places where one might take refuge, or engage in transgressions which we may be unwilling to share with a wider public, but which are important to our lives and development, to our needs and desires.
The essay Shadowed Spaces has never been published, but exists in a sort of parallel way to the kinds of spaces it discusses, handed around and sought out by people who maybe need to find it. And it’s served as a loose inspiration to a clutch of artists and musicians who are also drawn to these kinds of spaces, and to a desire to perform there, in a kind of artistic parallel to that need for privacy in public: ‘cause isn’t a musical performance just that, a private thing done publicly?
Our tour brings together 3 incredible experimental musicians from the USA and Japan, as well as Denis Wood, and takes them to some of our favourite, secret spaces, where collectively perhaps we can share in something hidden from the eyes of those keepers of the norm.
I hope you can join us.
Barry Esson & Bryony McIntyre, Arika