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Last Station

Last Station © ONE TWO ONE

‘LAST STATION located & dislocated’

is the latest in a long run of successful projects by ONE TWO ONE, managed by local artist Mary Hooper and architect Elise Liversedge. HOT’s Xaverine Bates explains more about the project and its history.

LAST STATION is inspired by the manned light vessels (LVs) that protected our coastlines from the 1730s to 2013. One such LV is the Royal Sovereign Light Station, replete with foghorn, located six miles off the Bexhill coast and replaced in 1971 with a concrete platform. In April 2011, the partnership was part of the ‘Figure Ground’ arts project, a short residency on board the decommissioned light vessel LV21 in Gillingham, Kent. LAST STATION explores the intimate space of crew member Brian Packham through construction and the use of a video of Brian describing life inside his former cabin before it was dismantled.

Elise told me, “Mary and I wanted to develop larger projects, which were more concerned with our own creative development as fine artists, where the line of tangibles and intangibles are blurred and where it’s OK to sit and think for days, rather than the usual displacement tactics of women artists – mopping, washing up and cleaning that takes place when you have no time to be creative, but have to be. The LAST STATION concept seemed like the right project to take forward, as it could encompass the concept of ‘Sense of Place’ that has intrigued both myself and Mary over the years. The artwork, in the same way as good architecture, is always about the context and rigour of process; not being lazy with the finer detail. This is the aesthetic that both myself and Mary have tried to achieve through all our various projects over the last few years, although at times life just got in the way. 

“So this hard-earned support from the Arts Council is a real boost and allows us to unfurl our wings a bit, shake them out and take flight. There is a wealth of stuff that’s out there, art, science, music, text, people, the culture of our world in this tiny island is inspiring, from the 17th century ocean floor surveyors, the inventors that captured and magnified light, to the crews that manned the foghorns. Human interaction with the world around us has been lost of late, so it’s a joy to have the chance to investigate our endeavours in actual time, rather than through a TV, and create something that inspires someone else to do the same.”

The project is led and managed by Elise and Mary, who have invited four other artists to undertake residencies for it. Local musician and composer Trevor Watts will undertake to write a short choral piece, Lewes-based writer and poet Kay Syrad will engage with text and Simon Hyde and Alexei Blinov, virtually-based video artists and smart-phone app developers, will develop an app for the project.

All the residencies will augment the main installation, which will have its first exhibition during July 2013 at the Bridport Art Centre, working with its director Polly Gifford, and moving onto a venue in Harwich during September and October. The installation will also be developed for touring. The project is working with other partners, including Trinity House, which manages navigational aids around our coast-line from lighthouses to floating buoys. Phase one of the projects is the development of the concept and the realisation of a touring artwork and a community engagement app. Mary and Elise will then seek funding and partners for the work at six other venues, located or dislocated from the main light vessel stations around the UK.

History and work

Ceramic panel no 1: "up the road and round the corner"

Southwater Biography © ONE TWO ONE

ONE TWO ONE art & architecture is the brainchild of Mary Hooper and Elise Liversedge, who set it up in 2004. The partnership development was spurred on by 1066 HA in Ore Village and the decanting process of the 1970s blocks of flats on Farley Bank. Penny Precious, arts officer at Hastings Borough Council, along with 1066 HA, created an open invitation to local artists and art groups to use an empty flat for a period of years, in order to keep out squatters and to initiate a cultural profile in Ore. Mary and Elise’s first project flat was 121 Farley Bank, hence the name, ‘ONE TWO ONE’.

The time in Ore was spent inviting students from London Metropolitan Architectural BA to undertake projects from the flat and in the local area and hold exhibitions of their own work, whilst inviting local residents to get involved with the Ore Valley Forum. They were also invited to take a group of residents on a ‘go and see’ tour of Glasgow housing associations to give a sense of what happens elsewhere. Other events organised were cream teas for local history groups, Architecture Week projects, such as lectures on sustainable building by Earthship Brighton and landscape design workshops with Jamie Liversedge, an international landscape architect, as well as talks on cultural development, film-making and sound anthem projects with the children at the Bridge Community Centre.

This commitment to the area generated other projects with the help of Michael Hambridge and local residents’ associations, such as the Southwater Art project ‘Up the Road and Round the Corner’; working with SARA, the local residents association, with the help of a small pot of arts money from the regeneration work undertaken in the area. ONE TWO ONE used the money to get more funding for artists’ residencies, which then led to an Awards 4 All grant for the development of ceramic mural panels: ‘Southwater Biography,’ which is a 4m x1m depiction of the development of St Leonards and the area known as Southwater. It is hoped that this will be installed on the platform of St Leonards Warrior Square station in time for the St Leonards festival in July 2013.

Station Plaza Health Centre

Station Plaza Health Centre

ONE TWO ONE won the commission to act as arts consultants for the NHS at the new Station Plaza Health Centre, where they extended the biography idea into the different surgery levels of the health centre, securing funding from the Arts Council to employ local and national arts practitioners to deliver poetry to all floors and also an arts strategy that could be used by the centre in the future.

Crossing Boundaries, funded by the Coastal Currents team in 2011, is a series of 24 posters outlining the development of the town of St Leonards fly-posted onto the Warrior Square Gardens lower promenade wall, which sits in the area known as St Leonards Without. Help with the process came from the 19th century local social history guru, Mr T B Brett, whose journals reside in the central library in Hastings, and Zoe Edwards, the local studies librarian there. This is developing into a Heritage funded project, ‘The Brassey Institute Reading Rooms,’ with partners on the project including the ESCC library, Horizons Community Learning CIC and Hastings History House.

spirit of place in Eastbourne is an NHS project funded by the Arts Council whilst Mary was curator at Arts in Healthcare at the Conquest and Eastbourne Hospitals. Acting as lead artist and commissioner, Mary developed a project centred around the defunct convalescent Hospital All Saints in the Meads Eastbourne. She invited a group of artists, photographers, poets and film-makers to take part in the unearthing of a ‘spirit of place’. Working with the help of Elise, she created a web-based arts project and catalogue.

Mary Hooper told me, “Elise and I have developed a unique collaborative partnership as artists and designers. It is always about how we can push the boundaries, learn new stuff, look at things from a different perspective and, although tough to keep going at times, it is essentially inspiring and challenging, and we also enjoy ourselves in between the admin.”

To find out more about the project and its progress log onto and like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter or check out the ONE TWO ONE website.

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Posted 20:50 Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 In: Arts News

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