EC arts invited me to occupy one of their dead spaces, a disused window area of the doomed John Madin designed library in Birmingham city centre and one of the few buildings whose purpose was neither retail nor office space. Always fascinated by the effects of the physical environment on mental space I used photographs I'd taken of city architecture and the language of shop window displays to portray a conumser victim sleep-walking into a vortex of buyers remorse.
Constant regeneration since WWII has left Birmingham's city centre dominated by a corporate maze of malls, duplicate chain-store outlets, banks and office spaces. Creative expression is barely sanctioned let alone encouraged. Sculptures of industrialists, Queen Victoria and Nelson are scattered frugally, yet what little public art is visible is often derided; Anthony Gormley's Iron Man was attacked for being rusty once erected and the statue of suicidal Tony Hancock looks strangely apt getting rained on outside a Wetherspoons. The distinct absence of street art feels contradictory for a modern city that has a female painter on its crest and regularly campaigns to be crowned European city of culture.
Inner city residents investing in new-build tower blocks or renovated ex-industrial areas develop paranoia of noisy neighbours freezing the value of property, in turn stifling senses of cosmopolitain community in areas devoid of activity after dark.
I remember when the city centre was taken over by skateboarders on a Sunday as most retailers were closed, an activity that became out-lawed in the 1990's.
Public disturbances during the summer of 2011 emphasised the lack of responsibility or community large elements of the population connect with the city.
Commercial messages and the urge to splurge.