I have weird friends. Or rather, they have me and I… No. We have each other and we are all peer-group normal, and this is entirely correct.
At the start of the summer before Everything Went To Shit, I started an Art Project called One hundred garage doors. Partly because I like the idea of art projects and felt like having one of my own to see how it might go.
In a different universe I would have gone off to Art College, mostly because I would have been able to mix with the sorts who it took me quite a while to discover were one of my sets of people. But, y’know, that wasn’t for the likes of me back then.
Another inspiration was a friend’s long-running photo-sequence named ‘Girder of the day’, which featured the sort of content you can probably gather from the title. We are both fans of Bernd and Hilla Becher’s amazing ‘Typologies’, so the idea of being able to pay some minor homage to that also featured. Finally, the cameras in Pixel phones are pretty damn good, and an excuse to get outside and use the thing was to be grabbed with both hands and one foot.
Because I am peer-group normal, a good handful of my friends just went with the improv weirdness, spotted the vibe in the big room with the blue ceiling, and totally ‘Yes! And!‘ed me with their own contributions. To the extent that it became ‘one hundred and some-odd’ garage doors.
That was followed by shorter iterations of similar themes Garage Doors - bonus beats and Not Garages which I kept up until running out of steam that winter. I thought I had explored all the various types of garage or shed door that the local area had to offer, and I felt that stopping while it was still fun and people were having a laugh with it would be better than flogging a joke to death, like one of those people who have a funny idea in, like, 1998, and are still repeating the relevant catchphrase even now. Accident! etc.
Then Eternal March in the year that we were forsaken of oh-god-what-now happened, and I (among others) had a bit of a hard time with it all.
It took me until May to realise that what I ought to be doing is taking pictures while on my Govt-mandated Isolated Exercise Period and putting them on the internet for people to marvel at.
Thus Lockdown Wandering which lasted for as long as there were lockdowns. More or less.
That all spawned, at one time or another, garage door advent calendars (I made about six I think), jigsaw puzzles (one), and calendars (two). Because obviously.
I thought that was an end to it. The seam of that lovely idea was mined out, or at least I was going to have to do something weird like travel to other parts of Bristol and strip-mine their alleys and backstreets for interesting doors … And. And because of things (bloody pandemic, shonky car, a re-appearance of some agoraphobia b/c bloody pandemic) that felt like more than I could stand to do.
You can do your own pointing at the previous text and going ‘but..?’ because I am sometimes a stupid child who will not/cannot learn from her own previous experiences. However, walking around outdoors is good. Having a task at hand with which to distract your misfiring brain from having a right old panic is also good. Both these things are calming and lead to a virtuous circle effect.
Anyway. One of my co-conspirators sent me a particularly strange garage as a present, which was all the prompting I needed to create something where I could muse about Municipal Realism which, if it must have a complicated explanation, is Magical Realism with places where tram stops have been.