HARROW LODGE (2006)
The Hut Project was invited to Havering College at Harrow Lodge to undertake a three day residency culminating in a lecture for students and staff. We decided that there were four interesting factors related to the site from which we could develop a project: the transience of the students (who had no allocated studio space, and who were studying on an eight month foundation course to prepare them for university); the upcoming demolition of the building and the transfer of the college to a new site; the fact that the college's gallery space had been annnexed from the staff room, and occupied the adjoining space, making the gallery a busy through route for coffee-hungry staff; and the college's collection of previous students' work that adorned the building's corridor walls. From these starting points we began a series of actions to engage with the site and its inhabitants, and in turn encourage a response towards our project. On entering the gallery space we pulled down the rear wall which had blocked off the windows, in order to allow us to connect an FM aerial from the gallery to the roof. The panelling we removed was used to build a table from which to work, and also to make a physical barrier between the gallery entrance and the entrance to the staff room, forcing staff to move further into the space and engage with our actions.
We then built a painting storage rack which would be used as the residency progressed. In order to make apparent the former use of the gallery space, we removed a line of ceiling tiles through the gallery and over the partition wall into the staff room, connecting the two spaces physically, metaphorically, and audibly. Having mapped out the routes that the transient foundation students would be making between classes throughout the day, we sent a representative from the staff at Harrow Lodge to intercept and bring them to the gallery to interviewed one by one. As each interview was completed we removed an item from the corridor walls, and filled the space it had occupied by flyposting selected quotes from the interview. The removed works of art were then brought to the gallery space, wrapped, labelled, and stored in the painting rack ready to be shipped to the new site at the closure of the building. On the final afternoon of the residency, the barrier we had used to interrupt the space was inverted to make a darkspace for projecting collected images from the three-day period, and remaing panelling used to make a new table around which to stage a panel discussion for students and staff, discussing the actions we had undertaken during the residency.
READ A TRANSCRIPT OF THE HARROW LODGE LECTURE HERE