Modern Gazetteer III – Group 4

With the demolition of the Birmingham Central library due to begin in early 2015 the question has arisen as part of the Co-Lab project how do we archive the library? It is inappropriate to take a literal archivist approach to the site so as part of the project brief we have developed a group approach to trying to capture the essence of paradise circus and the library.

Influenced by the book ‘the night Circus’ by Eric Morgenstein Group Four of Modern Gazetteer plan to capture primarily the ‘smell’ of defined locations within paradise circus and house these smells in an object that captures the feel of these locations. Three locations have been defined around Paradise Forum and the smells of these areas identified.

To give an example, one of the locations is to the rear of the paradise forum where a homeless man is regularly found sleeping. In this area there is a warm extract vent that he sleeps under to stay warm. The vent also extracts the fumes from cooking oil that is used in the restaurants housed in paradise forum. This overwhelming pungent warm smell is something we wish to capture to be experienced as part of an exhibition. This smell will then be housed in an object that references the materials and forms in that area. The object references the patched up nature of that area, with cheap materials used that have not stood the test of time and un maintained original features such as the concrete capping stones that the homeless man sleeps by. The object and the smells that are archived will form our approach to preserving a part of paradise circus as it stands today.

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Michael Day

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