The building of 100 names

Three new artists’ billboards, curated by Alan Dunn, will be presented on the Marsh Lane panel in Leeds as a continuation of Marion Harrison’s Convention House programme. The first phase, Episode 1 / Tomorrow is our permanent address, filled East Street Arts’ new art and tech space with artists exploring the physicality and acoustics of the former convent.

The building of 100 names now invites three artists and designers to expand on the very nature of naming the renovated building, suggesting three alternative titles that resonate with wider issues of activism, regeneration and consumerism:

13/01/20 Jessie Brennan CON/TRACTION
10/02/20 Tara Collette in collaboration with Manual Foundry CON/SUMPTION (HOUSE)
16/03/20 Andy Edwards CON/SEQUENCE

Documentation by Alan Dunn and Jules Lister.

"I chose 'contraction' in response to the political climate and recent election results. Tracing the etymology of the word, its Latin meaning is to 'draw together' - not at all the negative connotation that we tend to attribute to it today. Drawing together to act is precisely what is needed now for a more equitable world.

Red is the colour of revolutions, and January sales. It was hard to ignore my personal circumstances, too - that I'm having a baby this month, and contraction is what will enable new life to be born."

Jessie Brennan

"Consumption (House) is in response/protest to the endless consumption we’ve all become so used to, both in the physical and the digital world. Using design cues taken from Facebook’s infamous notification icon, the piece aims to highlight our new-found habit of endless scrolling and constant distraction. Manual Foundry, an independent type foundry based in Manchester, designed the custom typeface of exaggerated curves and over-inflated forms to draw attention to our habits of over-consumption."

Tara Collette + Manual Foundry

"I’m hoping the typographic arrangement of this word enhances its ambiguity: ‘Consequence’—the result of an action, and ‘Con Sequence’—a sequence of deceptions. I like the etymological link between a ‘Con / Convict’ and ‘Conviction’—a firmly held belief. This incongruity has parallels in a post-truth world, and particularly in our conflicted national consciousness, bedevilled by cultural and political (and now medical) spectres, or ‘morbid symptoms’ (Gramsci). The graphic execution is imprecise."

Andy Edwards

And then comes the COVID-19 lockdown, causing our billboards to stay up longer than intended, slowly collapsing under their own weight: Andy's reveals an earlier one from Part 1 - Feed the Fires, Tend the Stock by Laura Grace Ford.

Convention House is a new art space in Mabgate next to East Street Arts/Patrick Studios on St Mary's Street, Leeds LS9 7DP.

Dunn: We were all interested in the possibility of the new building having a different name each day, depending on what activities were taking place. We realised there were at least 400 English language words beginning with CON- and each of the three artists/designers have developed their own unique artworks or fonts as part of these new graphic billboards.