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Paranoia Exchange

Part 1 Project 2012
Thomas Higginson
Birmingham City University Birmingham UK

The former potters town of Stoke-on Trent has fallen in to a state of apparent 'anti-paranoia'. The extensive connections to all parts of the world that once were through the pottery industry are now hidden and forgotten. It is the recognition and reinstatement of these connections that my proposal centres around.

The pottery industry was hard to ignore in its boom and so these discussed links were very apparent, however since the industry decline, this rich and diverse geographical connectivity is lost; leading to fading memories of proud British heritage but also the loss of valuable trade and commerce opportunities.

The Paranoia Exchange is a local stock exchange. By providing a current market value for all participating Stoke businesses, investors from all around the world will be able to trade local shares on a global scale. The exchange itself is a utility for this process. This trading and investment provides vital capital for new and expanding businesses whilst re-establishing links with foreign trading opportunities.

The research in to the social condition of Stoke lead to my understanding of paranoia and anti-paranoia to a greater depth. It became apparent that whilst this anti-paranoid state was not desired, neither was its opposing condition. My study was directed in conjunction with my interpretations of Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. A concept of paranoia relief was rationalised. When paranoia levels reached a certain point it was important that there was a space for relief. This relief would reduce levels of the paranoia and prepare the individual for a return to the paranoia. By creating two juxtaposed spaces in both form and function, I have recreated artificial paranoia and relief. The paranoia being the trading floor and the relief takes the form of a variety of leisure activities from ice skating to a banana milkshake bar. I used Pynchon's words to relate to Stoke's condition. This allowed me to develop my theory. Whilst the literatures influence was mainly theoretical, I chose to carry one iconic form of relief from the fiction in to reality; that of the banana.

Thomas Higginson


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