People we found at 4WCOP

Inspiration Posts

Last month we "went" to the 4th World Congress of Psychogeography. We've already posted about our own contribution to this virtual gathering but here we want to give a mention to some of the other West Midlanders we came across while "there".

Helen Garbett and Bill Laybourne

One of the highlights of the Friday film night was Helen Garbett and Bill Laybourne's psychedelic Black Country amble Albion: Care Don't Care.

After three months of lockdown Helen and Bill returned to Albion Street in Brierley Hill. At first they noticed, with a heightened sensibility a street full of caring organisations such as a local food bank and Samaritans incongruously set within an environment that is utterly uncared for and decaying. Subsequent visits revealed unexpected associations and a melancholic beauty.

Helen, a visual artist and Bill, a sound artist co-founded Workshop 24 in 2018 where they work collaboratively as social art and walking practitioners. More about their projects and recent work can be found here. And here's their panel discussion at the Congress.

Emily Inglis and Rachel Owens

The mighty Gravelly Hill Interchange, AKA Spaghetti Junction has long been a favourite haunt of ours here at Walkspace so we were delighted to find a pair of artists who share our love of this concrete colossus.

Emily Inglis and Rachel Owens go on walks and make art; their creative collaboration is based on a thirty year friendship and the interplay of tensions and class differences contained within it.

They both grew up in the Midlands: Leamington Spa and Nottingham. Now they live 400 miles apart and walking trips are the thing. The Spaghetti Junction walk was a way back into art for them. Travelling up from Sussex and down from Edinburgh they chose to explore the footpaths, tunnels, underpasses, towpaths and the ‘no-man's land’ parts of the junction; signposting this an English landmark to be celebrated.

This is part of a wider project investigating overlooked sites that say something different about England. They visited the Junction in all seasons finding recurring themes that drew them back: the strange, the scary, the funny, the getting lost, the countless arguments and the unexpected glorious hidden sanctuaries. They came across an apple tree at the heart of the Spaghetti Junction laden with fruit. Was this discarded by a fractious kid stuck in a traffic jam sometime in the 70s? 

Emily and Rachel are currently working on a film born out of their explorations of the Junction. We eagerly await it and shall share it here when complete.

We hope to return to 4WCOP next year, ideally in person this time!