Helen Acklam Gus Cummins Lorna Giézot with Professor Madge Dresser
The artists are undertaking a month long residency in August responding to the research of Professor Dresser on Bristol’s history. Working with media including photography, video, sound and painting, the artists want to capture and respond to the history and warmly invite the public to share their thoughts, feelings and memories of the arcade and the city.
The Arcade was built at the beginning of the 19th century and modelled on the arcades of Paris. Designed to protect the urban socialite, the 'Flaneur', from the riffraff and dirt of the city, the arcade brought the street inside, allowing an expression of wealth and wearing of fineries all through the year.
Today The Arcade is still a place to wander, socialise and shop and also an interior passageway between the busy streets.
Throughout its history then, the Arcade has encountered and engaged with the crowd and has contained a snapshot of city life and all its disconnectedness. The title of this project, The Arcades Project, is inspired by The Passagenwerk or Arcades Project, an unfinished project of German literary critic Walter Benjamin, written between 1927 and 1940. It was especially concerned with Paris' iron-and-glass covered arcades. Benjamin's Project was never completed due to his premature death.