An experiment in site-specific conversations (2019) - Personal research project exploring theoretical and practical notions of site-specificity, produced whilst studying MA Situated Practice at The Bartlett, UCL.

An experiment in site-specific conversations was an intervention at the site of the A12 underpass in Hackney Wick, aiming to explore the ‘site’ as an active and thought provoking critical framework within which a conversation could take place. The intervention was part of a larger body of research towards the development of a ‘situated dialogical practice’ through both theory and practice.

The conversation was devised as a ceremony through three subsequent formations, intended to respond to the architecture of the site and create situated social frameworks. Blue rope was used as a prop throughout the exercise as a way of leading and shaping the group, drawing out social formations live within the space.

The first formation drew a long line at the border of the site along a footpath in which I asked the group to discuss what they could see. The long line instigated both raised voices and small, more intimate conversations amongst the group.  The second formation drew a semi-circle around the stage within the site in which I asked the group to raise any issues or concerns they have about the site. To raise an issue, individuals had to leave the formation, stand upon the stage and declare their worry to the rest of the group.  The third formation involved closing into a circle and asking if the group had any hopes for the site. We used the rope within this activity and passed it around each speaker as they made a contribution, weaving a collective web as we spoke.

Through these three different formations and three different questions, we talked through, in and about the site using its margin, its stage and its floor as a guide.