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Measures of Time

Part 2 Project 2008
Tom Osborne
University of Nottingham
Both our city and our technologies are becoming hidden. What was once material is now vaporised, what was once mechanical is now circuitry. A gallery of process is to be created - a route into the city formed. This journey will highlight the analogue beginnings of photography and publishing; two processes that were once bound to the material-properties of their respective objects (the book and the photograph), yet are now becoming increasingly divorced from them – they face dematerialisation.

The building inhabits a disused railway tunnel that runs throughout Nottingham City Centre, and the (soon to be covered) archaeological site at its southern terminus. Within this relic, a photographic studio and a bookbinding workshop are exposed. A public gallery is formed, which reveals these processes and their relationships to their material-objects, alongside the archaeological ruins of the city.

Intended as a prologue; an entrance to the city, the route provides onlookers with glimpses of the past; darkrooms, lithographic machines, saddle-stitchers and cameras, hover above the caves and ruins that line the city’s excavated underworld. These views showcase the materiality of photographs and books, and the historic city-fabric, to form a contrast to their current, ephemeral counterparts above.

In terms of both the technologies, and the city, the past is to be exposed, so that the present can be better understood.


Tom Osborne


This project was a pleasure to be involved with from start to finish. It began with a research process during the first semester exploring the materiality of photography, as a reaction to the current tendency to regard digital media as disembodied and immaterial 'information'. Exploring the correlations between the materiality of the photograph and the materiality of the world represented, a series of experimental photographic images were produced using a number of homemade camera-like devices. By overlaying and layering images through both pre- and post-production processes a temporal dimension was identified within the photographs that provoked the search for a suitable project site. A redundant railway tunnel under the centre of Nottingham is reimagined as an urban camera lens, telescoping the history of the city into an archeological experience of material transformations. The daily routines of a studio photographer are seen across a viewing gallery opposite the equally patient and drawn-out processes of a printer and bookbinder.

Working in consultation with two local 'clients' the form of the building developed around a careful analsysis of the various stages of the production processes. This culminates within the tunnel itself in a celebration of the tectonic and temporal qualities of the so-called two-dimensional media - and their relationship with the three- and four-dimensional city displayed in the carefully exposed evidence of the site's own historical layering.

Tutor(s)
Mr Graham Farmer
Mr Jonathan Hale
2008
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