24/11/22 – 09/12/22
Opening times: 12 – 5pm, 25th November – 2nd December, and 7th – 9th December.
Location: Vulcan Works, Fetter Street, Northampton.
About Model Village
The collaborative exhibition-making programme Model Village explores the role of culture in the development of new towns. Over the programme, participants are asked to make houses out of any material to be placed on tabletop-gaming landscapes to create Model Village. Houses can be made at home or in the exhibition space and there are no rules to how they should look or what they should be made of; from assembled kebab shop napkins to modernist gems and pebble-dashed miniatures – the project facilitates exchange between people and their ideas. Over the programme, a logic specific to the event arises independently from any singular vision of what the ‘Model Village’ might be.
Model Village evolved from the previous London event in which 56 artists participated as a result of research undertaken on a residency at Eastcheap Projects in Letchworth Garden City (LGC). The project explored the development of LGC, the precursor to the new town developments which occurred in the 50s in response to vast overcrowding, and poor working & living conditions in London. The new towns movement saw rapid development in the 60-mile radius of London and included towns such as Northampton and Milton Keynes in its programme. The Arts and Crafts movement fabricated a directed culture for LGC which incorporated folk tradition, rituals and architecture. In Model Village, Moss explores the mechanics of this directed culture through facilitating a miniature ‘new town’ programme, seeing how a sense of place is manifested through exchange between people, alongside its physical properties.
David Harvey (2001) wrote that capitalism is always looking for a new “spatial fix” in order to resolve the tendencies of its inner crisis. With this in mind, Model Village invites participants to playfully explore eschewed dimensions of land, property, value, adventures of city Imagineering, deal-making and symbolic reinvestment. Performative strategies seek to tap into these energies as a way of gesturing beyond our truncated horizons. Urban fantasies emerge that manifest psychic, cultural, political, economic and spiritual legacies. One might ask to whom exactly is this place destined and who are these extravagant spaces for? Why invite fantasy when civic life and housing strategies are hampered by urgent social and political realities, a cost of living crisis, and communities subject to gentrification. Yet, cobbled together out of multiple imaginaries, the artist proposes a cultural orientation through other places and people and suggests that in dialogue with the repetitive character of the mechanical, industrial and planned commonplace, there is an essence that creates the places we inhabit.
Everyone is invited to participate in Model Village throughout its 2-week duration with various workshops and making sessions to assist with building the collaborative artwork.
The Model Village programme includes:
- Two drop-in workshops, engaging young people in Northampton and NNCA Associates, held on the 19th of November (Landscape and House Building, 11-4pm) and 8th of December (3D Scanning, 12-5pm)
- An opening event held on the 24th of November (6-9pm) as part of the Sensing Place Symposium event
The installation will remain open for the general public to contribute on the 25, 26, 28, 29, 30 of November, and 1-8 December (12-5pm).
Model Village is an artist commission as part of the Sensing Place Programme at NN Contemporary Art
About the Artist
Joe Moss: Artist and Creative Producer at The London School of Mosaic. Alongside making physical work, his practice includes a breadth of educational and facilitatory activities. Recent related projects include presenting at the Tate Exchange as part of the School of Civic Action, curating the show Underpinned by The Movements of Freighters and a residency at Eastcheap Projects in Letchworth Garden City, where he developed the Model Village programme.
How to find us
Model Village is based at the Vulcan Works, on Fetter Street in Northampton, a 2-minute walk from Northampton Museum and Art Gallery on Guildhall Road. If coming from this direction, turn right onto Angel Street, then turn left onto Fetter Street. The building on the left is Vulcan Works.