Sometimes, when the evening sun hits the facade, you can see the interiors, the traces left behind by the neighbours that used to be there. Half-opening my eyes I look through my eyelashes, imagining that I turn into a kind of sneaky gas, able to get through the crannies and open windows of the abandoned flats. I imagine myself admiring the ecosystem that has developed there, with magical creatures cohabiting harmoniously in the spaces. When I have my eyes wide open, though, I see leaks, invasive plants, pigeons, insects and rats are actually the ones who share the blocks with the few neighbours that are still living in those neglected buildings. Those neighbours must be like water, adapting to any container. They are judged and put into boxes, flattened, actions which they are forced to revolt against to show themselves as multidimensional and meaningful. They find themselves riding through the peaks and troughs, the emotional rollercoaster of the housing market.
I feel shattered, trying to block the building view with my hands, which I see turning into fine dust, blending with those metallic nanoparticles already present in the polluted air. While these environmental nanoparticles are solid, they are so tiny, so invasive; able to disperse in water, the air, or linger on solid matter, such us our body. Here they get absorbed through our skin or respiratory system to sediment in our internal tissues, becoming part of us, increasing aggressive behaviour, premature dementia and being a known cause of cancer.
It is called regeneration. When a building is knocked down, it leaves a gap in the landscape, similar to the one a missing tooth leaves in the denture, where the air circulates freely; missing the mass, the warmth of that edifice it used to cast before.
Turf Projects has commissioned this solo exhibition ‘Peaks & Troughs’ by Saelia Aparicio Torinos. The exhibition – an installation, combines mural drawings, modified found objects, mouth blown glass, probiotics and pollution. Sculpture functions as either lenses and filters, distorting, multiplying, and letting the light through. Although it suggests some narrative, we can only see some parts of its structure, showing first an introduction, the surface, or epidermal layer of the city as a body, to then penetrate into its entrails, a world of darkness and artificial light.
Peaks & Troughs has been generously funded by the Arts Council England and Croydon Council.
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