ABANDONED MEMORIES

Postcards from the imagination

 

Life Ain’t Beautiful Staircase

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Memories; Truth or Fiction? Yours alone or shared with your fellow companions? Postcards are a nice way of explaining the concept behind our memories collection. When we write a postcard, the wording of our stories is very much dependent on whom we share our adventures with. We wouldn’t say that a postcard to your mum would have less ‘truth’ in it than one to your friends, but you may choose your wording differently. This is very much like how our memories become anecdotes. The act of telling stories gives them the sheen and polished nature that most revisited tales tend to have. A rehearsed tale that has the context you choose to tell and until you share it, it may have a fluid nature in the mind.

 

Exhibition_Blog_V03_Montage

Have you ever stopped and thought that the story you are telling has subtlety changed, become cross-contaminated with other stories from a shared experiences? Or just a little embellished?!

Storytelling is an ancient pastime; Chinese whispers have been responsible for many changes in the most popular folk tales that are still about today.

 Piggy Barn11

Our 12 Photographs in the ‘Memoires’ series were inspired by abandoned locations, each one with many years of disregard and decay. We all are amateur archaeologists in our own way, every day letting our imaginations speculate about what could have happened in all manner of locations. Some choose to explore guided museums and monuments, others choose to explore the space behind those facades of boarded up buildings, left like time capsules to slowly fall apart and gather new meanings.

 Deadend bedroomDeadend_Memories

Initially this idea was inspired by finding a simple booklet discarded on the floor of the abandoned Iraqi embassy, just east of Berlin. Entitled “Monopoly and its effects on Islamic law” and its content being Arabic, it posed many questions yet answered so few. It was how we found out about the game Monopoly’s origins (it was invented “as a way of demonstrating the evils of land ownership”)

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Asking ‘why’ led to more stories of our history, more questions to ask. We asked ourselves if it was the building and contents we found beautiful or the ideas it generates within its history. We think we found it to be both. History gives it context but decay provides imagination.

Chess Iraq embassy Corridor1

The embassy was abandoned by the Iraq consulate during the political upheaval of 1991. The fall of the Berlin wall and first gulf war led to a hasty retreat and abandoning of a fully stocked office in East Berlin 24 years ago. What is left is only a hazy imagined version of the past.

Life ain’t beautiful classroom5

What is beauty anyway? Has it been taught to us? The only beautiful hospitals we have ever been to were abandoned, allowing for roaming and imaginings of once secret corners. Abandonment has lead to a beautiful decaying, noisy, windy, non-weather proof and mostly human free environment.

Scratch Waiting Room3

I’m still waiting for my appointment. I’ve waited so long I can’t be sure what I’m waiting for. The walls have stated to crumble and piping is strewn across the floor. What doctor was I waiting to see anyway? This is way more exciting!

Piss Off, Paper mill9

A water powered paper factory. Abandoned in 1994, was once a hive of activity printing money for the third Reich.

Now a canvas for artists making a gallery that most won’t see.

Axe Library15

When we read the news, have you ever wondered how the articles seem to get longer the less they know? Speculative language used to0 imply things that would not be able to be written as facts. Are you reading to inform or too have a story told to you? The most important part of these stories is your imaginations being fired off by interpretive language.

Suicidal Tendencies Bakery17

A bakery of many generations past, Beelitz Heilståtten is a complex with hundreds of buildings. A town slowly left behind, more and more buildings left to decay when they become surplus to requirements. This bakery would have once provided the people of the lung sanatorium with nourishment in around 1898. At what point in its long history the bakery ceased is unsure, during the time of the First World War when Hitler was treated for being shot in the leg and blinded by mustard gas?

Redhood StudyMemories_Redhood

Some places are almost perfect time capsules, with personal items left everywhere. Their value is protected by their anonymity and hard to find locations. When we sell an art print or a t-shirt they become someone else’s story. You can never finish a story, just begin one in someone’s imagination. These illustrations are borrowing some of the personal stories and adding their own layer of information to a space.

Piggy Living room13

It’s a temptation to project our own experiences and ideas onto a space. This farmhouse is full of trinkets like the piggy bank on the mantle piece. It’s incredible that this manor has lived since the 14th century as a part of people’s lives. Now only fragments of the past are left.

 

Redhood indoor forest

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Nature is quite amazing, given the smallest opportunity it will spring back. The indoor forest has used the ceiling collapse and temporary pond in this factory to create this little oasis. Redhood well and truly ain’t going picnic!

When was the last time you bought an underwhelming postcard on holiday to send home?

We love to share our travels with the unlucky ones left behind in sodden windy England with social media allowing more of an instantaneous sharing experience, but does it loose the personal and tactile touch of a good old-fashioned photo postcard? The nostalgia of jotting down a story on the back of a postcard and popping it in the post gives a much more personal touch for the recipient. Something that they would wish to keep pinned on their pin board at home.

With this in mind our motley band of artists from Conquer Gear set out on a journey urban exploring some hard to find, forgotten and abandoned spaces that are not in the guidebooks. With a collection of our illustrations printed, we searched for abandoned spaces that would make beautiful and appealing backdrops for our drawings and create an interesting narrative to our photographs.

All of the artwork was created in collaboration with Conquer Gear around a central motif; “Memories”. It is our goal is to ask: when memories form in our minds, how conscious are we of the surroundings that went into their creation?

 

Our shop has 2 Limited edition packs each featuring 6 of the above photos as postcards with reverse stories.

The packs are limited to 500 editions. The postcards are digital reproductions and the pack case is hand screen-printed. £7 each

 

Each photo is available on Photo Print, on C-Type Matt Fujifilm. 
Fuji Crystal Archive paper with a semi-matt finish. The paper is coated with a slightly stippled finish and gives a very natural photographic finish with subtle colour. Editions of 250 at only £50 (each signed and numbered)

Project Credits:

Photography by Anthony Lycett

Video/design by Jeff Metal

Illustration by Tomoya Hiramatsu (Conquer Gear)

Curated by Sebastian Stoobs (Conquer Gear)

Project Assistant Aaron Seale (Conquer Gear)

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