Monday, November 08, 2010


Well, I've been tempted back to the blog by a news item about filth. It's something in the Wellcome Trust e-newsletter about artist Serena Korda's forthcoming work that will be part of a spring 2011 exhibition called ‘Dirt: The filthy reality of everyday life’. She is asking the public to donate dust, collected from their houses, workplaces or other locations. She will use it to make an artwork called 'Laid to Rest' which will consist of 500 commemorative bricks made from dust given to the artist by the public. Anyone can contribute and each brick will carry an inscription with details about the dust from which it is made. The project will culminate in the burial of the bricks, returning them to the earth.  Lots of events as part of their 'Dirt' season are planned too - sounds fascinating!!

The press release says "Korda's work is inspired by the commercialisation of waste in Victorian London, particularly the vast dust heaps which dominated the skylines at the top of Gray's Inn Road. Immortalised by Charles Dickens in 'Our Mutual Friend', the dust heaps supported a wide range of industries, including the making of bricks. Mud from the brick fields of Somers Town was mixed with the ash, cinders and rubbish from the dust heaps, and transformed the discarded, detritus and dirt of London into the material from which the expanding city was built."

There's loads of balls of fluff and assorted debris on the stairs at college. They're so big they look like mini tumbleweeds. I was only marvelling the other day at how infrequently the cleaners sweep those stairs - probably not more than once a year - so it becomes sort of self-cleaning, I suppose... we clear the stairs by using them and kicking the muck away with our feet. Ah well, saves money on the Estates budget and cleaning is so boring anyway, surely even for people who do it professionally? I'm not sure how dignified it would be for students to see their tutor grovelling about on the stairs scrabbling for dirt, but I may give it a go. It's a tower block so a LOT of stairs. And potentially a LOT of dirt.

Her blog doesn't tell you what to do with your debris, but perhaps if one bags it up in readiness then more details will appear soon... Something thought-provoking to look foward to next year.

Image: London: The great dust-heap. Credit: E. H. Dixon, 1837. Wellcome Images.