Fallen idyll: the end of a perspective
home movies from 138 St. Lawrence Square, NE6, 2003-2008
A two screen video installation by Monica Ross
ISIS Arts presented two videos by Monica Ross which reflect on current housing conditions through her observations of St. Lawrence Square, Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne, over a span of 5 years. Fallen idyll - the end of a perspective was installed at St. Michael's Church, Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne, in September 2008.
Filmed from spring to winter in 2003, Bykermorning - the view from a deserted utopia: a home movie, presents the now vanished perspective of the early morning view from a council flat in St. Lawrence Square alongside Fallen idyll - the end of a perspective: a home movie, which documents the demolition of the flat and its view in May 2008.
The St. Lawrence Square flats were built around a park by the Tyne in the 1890s and modernised as part of the socialist inspired design of Ralph Erskine's Byker Housing Development in the 1970s. By 2003, the Tyneside industries which were the mainstay of Byker's once thriving community were long gone. Many of the St. Lawrence flats had fallen into disrepair or dereliction and the Square and its park had come to be considered as a no go area by outsiders.
Bykermorning - the view from a deserted utopia: a home movie, frames idyllic views from a window inside the flat to counter this external perception and to belie its 'failure' as social housing. Fallen idyll - the end of a perspective: a home movie, is a fractured, split screen document of the demolition of this former worker's housing on what is now considered to be a desirable riverside site. Shown together, the videos are a meditation on the passage of time and season and, as one era has become another, the changed value of housing as a means to create private wealth rather than affordable, quality homes for all.
Bykermorning - the view from a deserted utopia: a home movie was produced with support from ACE North East 2003. Fallen idyll - the end of a perspective: a home movie was produced with the support of an ISIS Arts mini-residency 2007.
Thanks to Jorn Ebner, Sneha Solanki, Michelle Hirschhorn, Sharon Bailey, Cecelia Stenbom and all at ISIS Arts, Joel Fisher, Ken Evans, Alice Ross, Wolfgang Weileder, Gabi Heller, Margaret Davis at Your Homes Newcastle, Walter Nichols at Owen Pugh & Co. Ltd, Jimmy Ward and his Demolition Crew.