Private Frontiers

A collaboration with Julinka Ebhardt, a fellow student at the Royal College of Art, to translate the concept of privately owned public space in London into mobile light-based objects.
-
This project uses light to visualise the troubling and growing phenomenon of privately owned public space in London. Through a series of actions, objects and installations, Julinka and I explore the borders between public and private land and the resultant change of civic rights. These privately owned public spaces are an oxymoronic invention which insidiously change the shape and nature of our city's culture.  
The project manifests itself in the form of two objects, a backpack and a pendulum. The objects are the result of an exploration into these urban territories, translating their semi-visible thresholds (from common public realm to controlled private land) into signalling tools which indicate the crossing of the border by a transformation of the object.
Walking the public-private frontiers while looking for signs that indicate the perimeter, we harvest GPS coordinates; building a valuable asset of hard-to-find data. This data is then downloaded into a GPS-enabled, illuminated backpack, which flickers near the border of a private zone, then fully illuminates once inside - a warning light to the user and others that the rules and rights have changed. 
A pendulum, placed in-situ along the boundary, uses light to express the transition from public to privately owned space. The arm swings constantly, dimmed over the public land and illuminated over the private. The counterweighted, asymmetrical tripod stands on the borderline whilst not physically touching the private land, only occupying its air space as the light swings across. 
-
GPS Backpack: high impact polystyrene, aluminium vapour coating, webbing, neoprene, microprocessor, GPS receiver, LEDs
Public-Private Pendulum: steel, aluminium, nylon, microprocessor, motor, LEDs, phosphor 
-
Photography by Darek Fortas (1), Jara Moravec (2-5) and Will Yates-Johnson (6-15)
Contextual research into privately owned private spaces in London
The private-public frontiers: some feature jarring stylistic and material clashes while others require forensic detection. We look for clues in the architecture and the pavement, from small metallic boundary markers to hyper-specific cleaning regimes that scrub up to, but never over, the borders.
Private Frontiers exhibited at the Royal College of Art's Graduate Show during June 2015