Where is Local? Part 1

19 Apr 2010

Local: of, relating to or characteristic of a particular place

It's all happening at Tatton, most of the works are in place, I'm told, which is great given that the biennial opens on May 7th. I'm beginning to feel the distance between here and there, the (necessary) remoteness of my position now that the project is in full swing. I've therefore been online scouting for any relevant time-based crumbs they might have dropped around the place, and, of course, there aren't any, or they've been well-swept into some codified corner. The process, however, leaves me in no doubt as to the significance of the biennial to the region and the brilliant, if increasingly monitored, randomness of the internet.

I've still no idea, for example, why Gary Lineker was waving to me the other day from a worryingly large and uninvited realplayer window in Hotmail. I got over this inbox invasion of a man-shaped commercial virus and into search mode to see what evidence of Tatton and cultural life in Cheshire I could find. More worrying than the unwanted presence of Gary, was the online lack of one for the area's creative and local life in general. From the scanty bits of info, one might conclude, and falsely perhaps, that this stunning pocket of the North has missed out on the recent re-gen wave to have washed over Manchester and Liverpool.

Naturally, Tatton Park is a central feature of the data to view. Negotiating the stories and facts about its local past made me think of the ways in which several of the current commissions address historicity -- the promises and problems the recording of events brings in terms of the resource it offers and the barrier it can become to engaging with life of the heritage site in the present. The draw of Tatton, of being able to imagine society, and a high-faluting one to boot, as it was, is clear but what and how is the future legacy being recorded today?

Pick and mixing through youtube, I indulge in the idea of a video work for the biennial comprised of the odd outtakes from a non-documentary on Tatton it offers. For in many ways this sketchy information is as relevant to the site's future as anything one might discover in an academic library; the history connecting every protected brick and rare species of moss.

Posted by Rebecca Geldard at 2:28 PM