CIVIC is a group of architects and artists investigating and reinterpreting the physical space of Swansea city. The group was originally brought together to work towards an exhibition in the Mission Gallery, Swansea (at the end of the High Street stretch in the city’s marina). The exhibition coincided with the news that “From The Station To The Sea” project was beginning and immediately saw lines of enquiry and processes that were in keeping with the plans for Swansea High Street. As their initial investigation of the city focused purely on the centre, the group of contributors were keen to expand their research into the High Street.
The first walk “An Invitation to Loiter on High Street” was coordinated by Jonathan Arndell and Caroline Humphreys. Participants were invited to loiter along the High Street for a short period of time (approximately 20 minutes) afterwards returning to Volcano HQ to reflect on their observations.
“During this time you can observe, eavesdrop, go into the premises immediately in your vicinity, engage with people around you etc. The loiter will be followed by a discussion about your observations and reflections. It may be about place, space and the use of space. It could involve looking at functionality, human relations and communications, invisible borders and boundaries. It may also include a look at the politics and class issues inherent in how space is organised and used. Or whatever else emerges…”
If you were unable to attend the walk, but like the idea of experiencing and sharing your Loiter on the High Street – have a go and send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or write it on a piece of paper and drop it in to Volcano 229 High Street.
In particular participants were asked to:
• Observe your immediate environment. What’s around you? What are the aesthetic qualities – old/new, appealing/unappealing, in keeping or alien?
• Who is around you? What are they doing? How are they using the street? Where do you think they are going? What is their physical appearance and demeanour? What is their lifestyle?
• What is the relationship of the person to the High Street environment? e.g. practical, leisure focused, purposeful, passing through, content or otherwise?
• Do different types of people use the space differently? Can you classify them?
• What’s the overall dynamic of the street? Is there one?
• How do you feel? What’s your relationship to the people, space and place? How do the people and the surroundings impact on how you are feeling?