The first few days of my month-long residency at The Art House in Wakefield have so far been mostly relaxing, reflective and constructive. I’m planning on using the time and space provided to reflect on my practice and experiment with what might happen with having a studio space (I haven’t had a proper studio space since I graduated in 1998). So far I have spent time exploring Wakefield (see photos), visited the Hepworth Gallery, and popped over to Leeds to the Henry Moore institute and Leeds Art Gallery.
On my second night, after all the staff had left, and while I was cooking myself some dinner, the fire alarm went off. This alarm is loud and insistent, and not the kind that goes off if you wave a tea-towel at it. At first I think it is my fault and that the alarm is unusually sensitive as I am only making pasta and definitely not burning it. I take the pans off the hob and switch the rings off anyway and go exploring. I bump into a studio-holder who just happened to be cooking as well - and he has burnt something.
Neither of us know how turn the alarm off so I phone my contact for The Art House; Simon. He doesn’t know either, but he can get in touch with someone who does. He also tells me that the alarm is linked to the fire station and, as we finish our conversation, the fire brigade turn up. They need to find the alarm panel, which I discover by phoning Simon again. The alarm panel has a locked door on it and the firemen do not have a key. This key is probably in the office, which is locked and alarmed. We are then joined by a woman from the security company who was also automatically notified. She does not have a key for the panel either. Satisfied that there is no fire the fire brigade leave.
I get a call from Neil, the operations director of The Art House, and I explain where we’re at. He tells us that the key for the panel is in the office and that the security guard can get us in there and disable the office alarm. We go to the office, go in, wave the dongle at the office alarm panel, nothing happens. The office alarm goes off, joining the fire alarm. We decide to come back to that. We find the key cupboard, find the fire panel keys, go back to the fire panel, unlock it and finally switch off the fire alarm. We head back up to the office (it’s alarm seeming relatively gentle in comparison) and the security guard inputs a code to switch it off. It is quiet. Sighs off relief all round.
I can get back to my dinner.
Today I began research for my project on Diglis Island, Worcester. The project is one of six taking place around the Mid-Worcestershire Ring (a route created by the re-opened waterways between Worcester and Droitwich) run by the Canal & River Trust.
Over the next year I’ll be developing a project for the Island, looking at its history, uses, possibilities and people.