I have been creating short films about the Orpheus building that has been home to the School of Art for over 30 years. It is being demolished to make way for grand University developments on that site and beyond.
I have been photographing and making video of the building for around two years during my MFA studies. This process intensified in 2015, through the period of the final shows and the clearout/remnants afterwards. Along with visual material I made a number of surround sound recordings in several of the spaces whilst students have been working during the year.
Being in the building every day, I was struck by the history for so many people that had been enacted with these most solid walls having stood through troubled times as an oasis of expression in a challenged part of the city. The 1930s fabric and features of the building could be felt to buzz with absorbed creative energy.
In broad intention, the orpheusworks site is in part an invitation to look back on the fabric of Orpheus that has silently witnessed so much and bears the marks of college life.
Through witnessing the transition into redundancy and destruction that must close the chapter, the work is intended as a memento mori.
This early stage video is a somewhat sentimental celebration of the beautiful art deco building and an invitation to consider the creative activity that has resonated within its walls over three decades, not to mention the important contribution of this piece of city fabric to the creative well being of the city. This piece is also a memento mori, a reminder of the transient nature of that which we assume to be permanent – nihil aeternum est.