Hannah Stearn (1987), English artist, lives and works in London, and currently studies at the School of the Damned.
The Poorer the Borough, the More Frequent the Potholes
I love to watch road works at night, to bear witness to such theatrical, ceremonious acts (involving hot tar, smoke, neon outfits and line marking), located within nocturnal life. These are the people carving out our city, while we sleep.
Who owns the roads of the city? The veins so to speak, leading us from A to B. It is not these people marking out and sculpting our floor space. Moreover, is it possible to own a route of a city? I certainly do inside of my head, through personal shortcuts and secret off-piste meanders.
Lately I have experienced the proliferation of branding colours, which corporate businesses use as a tool in order to corner us into acknowledging their existence – smartly working from the ground UP. Take the Barclays’s blue etched into the lanes of our roads – the fast-moving concrete river facilitating endless bikes and Borris bikes around our city. This blue then morphs from micro dashes of the colour to vast infinite pools of it. Such colours are present in pixels, credit cards, billboards, signage, tennis courts etc...Cobalt blue will never be the same again!
When cycling around London, I have been collecting images of cosmic rings, which appear in particular weather conditions. They are short-lived abstract forms created by oil present on the ground. These psychedelic rings have triggered an investigation towards the privatisation of floor space. These rings function as hazard signage on the road; warning of space and the privatization of floor space.
I have been drifting along on my bike thinking about the ground below us. When does the earth's crust begin? Coating the top, below our feet I have recently noticed that floor space is being privatized in a different way. And has started to connect our mind to our physical bodies pushing them through the space of a city. We are beginning to live in a society whereby everything encompassing our bodies has some kind of corporate context. Sometimes I feel as though we are inside of a theatre set made up of various components not chosen by us: trade, pollution, industrialisation, movement, bodies, space, time, market, economy, upkeep.