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TAKE A SEAT

Feb 2008

Sculpture by Nicola Atkinson Does Fly

for the Silverburn Shopping Centre ( site below )

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The Silverburn Shopping Centre site was once the location of Bellamine Secondary School.


The “Take a Seat” sculpture is reminiscent of a child’s giant mobile that will cast shadows of chairs onto the ground below it. Suspended above the shoppers, this piece represents all the dreams and knowledge of thousands of wee souls who sat, listened and learnt on school chairs in the Pollock area.


The shadows cast by the sculpture will be produced by the natural sunlight in the day and specifically lit at night by spotlights. The hangings of children’s school chairs are from Bonnyholm, Leithland and McGill Primary School, Pollock.


Surrounding the sculpture on the ground will be 6 display cabinets. These will, in effect, create a circular timeline displaying chairs donated from the Primary Schools in Pollock from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and one for the future. A small brass plaque on each one will give a brief history of the chair use. Beautifully embossed in black will be the words of the Edward Lear poem “The Table and the Chair”, written in sections onto each base and will be read in its entirety when standing in the centre.


Edward Lear’s children’s poem humanises the chair and table, highlighting the awkward nature of them suddenly becoming mobile. Once they have set themselves free of the constraints they believed were upon them, they experience the first adventure of their lives. This can be read as a metaphor for children leaving school: the restrictions of education giving way to adult life with its own set of rules, the difference being that each person has a choice in the path they take. In the same way the shopping centre is a place where one is free to shop but all the while being guided, by design, to buy where, what and when. The sculpture “Take a Seat” will link together the surrounding community who once occupied the school chairs and who will now be shopping and making choices of their own about life and consumerism.


These children have grown into adults: their experiences as the young generation have influenced and moulded the future social landscape of the area, their history and legacy left in the place they grew up. Their place of learning plays a key role in this history and the manner in which they were taught has evolved dramatically to produce a progressively less rigid approach. The formal, controlled teaching of core academic subjects in the past has relaxed into a diversification of subjects and an effort to engage with students as individuals. This shift is also reflected in the seating arrangements of all classrooms, going from rows of benches facing the teacher to interaction and group work.


This shift parallels the history and development of how people shop, how information is shared, how people are shaped, how they are presented with knowledge or fulfill their need to buy. Consumerism has moved from buying before touching to nowadays browsing without even the need to purchase, if that is what one chooses. With this understanding of free will, we know that we cannot control everyone and thus 'desires lines' are formed, even within the confines of a shopping centre. Desire lines are traditionally tracks in the green areas between the paths. They evolve through local knowledge and necessity as they have done by man for thousands of years, determined by the needs of fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. These are often shorter; more direct and have the form and flow of rivers. Water always take the route of least resistance indicating that it is the easiest way from A to B, as does the person taking the choice to make their own path.

 

NAD April 2007

 

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Nicola Atkinson.Davidson

 

 

 

 

 

 


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