On houses that fall into the sea

Earlier this week the papers were full of stories of Ridgemont House in Devon – a house bought for £150,000 by auction, only to see its garden plummet down towards Oddicombe Beach.

The story brought together the national obsession with house prices with the fact of increasing coastal erosion due to climate change. Artist Kane Cunningham is jealous of the Devon housebuyer. He is actually waiting for his house to fall into the sea:

Landscape artist Kane Cunningham has used his credit card to buy a house that is about to fall into the sea. A bungalow at Knipe Point in Scarborough, North Yorkshire – near the scene of the infamous Holbeck Hotel cliff collapse 16 years ago has been condemned after a fresh landslip. Cunningham states:

‘I’ve bought a house that will be the next one to fall over the cliff. It feels like I have no choice. I’m going to rig the house with cameras and film the last sunrise before nature claims its bounty’.

‘It’s the perfect site-specific installation – a stark reminder of lost dreams, financial disaster and threatening sea levels. It’s global recession and global warming encapsulated. This little house is feet away from the edge of the cliff – it can go at any moment. The idea is to create an artwork on a scale never been seen before in North Yorkshire and to stimulate within the imagination of the public the idea that this house falling into the sea can become a work of art. If the aim of art is to stimulate discussion and debate on issues, then surely this will get people talking.’

His idea’s a little like Bettinna Furnee’s Lines of Defence, except this time with a real house involved. It’s an interesting thought; if you’re trying to make people act on climate, maybe you need to make the message as domestic as possible, like an English bungalow falling into the sea…


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Arnolifini’s 100 Days: a post-capitalist auction? Er…

Pictured above is Item No. 12 from the entertainingly dystopian project by Hollington & Kyprianou , Adams & Smith, An Auction of Late Capitalist-Period Artefacts. It’s part of the last day of Platform’s 100 Days series at the Arnolfini. [Hollington and Kyprianou, you may remember, took part in our Nuclear Forum last year when they discovered a neglected and hitherto unheard of nuclear facility in East London].

The artwork consists of an auction. That auction is set 25 years in the future, in 2034. Up for sale are 15 items that say something about the capitalist culture which collapsed, apparently spectacularly, in the years prior to the event. This is how the catalogue describes the pictured object:

Banking counter pen and holder

Date: 2006

2008, 2013, 2019, 2021. Dates that every school child knows. The first three, huge tremors within the capitalist financial industry, the latter its final glorious collapse.

The system was definitely terminally ill before it’s eventual enforced demise, but it was by direct action that it was put out of it’s own, and our, misery. And what a misery.

Adams & Smith are delighted to offer this well preserved 21st century bank pen and holder, a slightly comical device that was nonetheless widely used for many years.

It would be found on the ‘public’ counter within high street banks, enabling the ‘customers’ to fill out forms and provide a signature as a form of security.

What is most telling is that the base was fixed to the counter and the pen (joined by a chain) was fixed to the base, meaning that no customer could ‘steal’ the pen.

It in it’s own way this let’s us in to the very thought processes of this ‘banking’ industry. The customers actually trusted the banks to look after their money, – sometimes all the money they had.

And the bank? The bank didn’t even trust the customer with a cheap plastic pen.

Also on sale: Smoke Detector, Double Buggy and Penalty Charge Notice. Paradoxically, for an auction that takes place in the post-capitalist era, it intends to create proceeds. They will be distributed among activists going to COP15.

See more about the event at Adams & Smith (est 2034) which takes place on Nov 28.


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