FOUR WORDS: WIRRAL curated by Alan Dunn (May 2021).

In 2016 Alan Dunn in collaboration with Metal Liverpool presented FOUR WORDS: JANUARY on the Media Wall opposite Liverpool Lime Street station. Interrupting the flow of commercials, the project invited people to present four-word statements about the complex month of January.

FOUR WORDS explore diversity and accessibility by bringing people together to reflect on complex issues. The social innovation of these takeovers lies in the breadth of participants, engaging with teenagers, retired seafarers, ancillary workers and ex-footballers from local communities alongside established artists.

This latest iteration uses Augmented Reality (AR) technology to imagine, create and share concrete poetry beyond the confines of buildings in post-COVID times. Artists Malik Al Nasir, Singh Twins, Steve & Phaedra Hardstaff and Joseph Cotgrave have been working with and inspired by the areas of New Ferry, Spital and Port Sunlight on the Wirral peninsula. Collaborating with community members and other artists including New Ferry CLT, Jo Lansley, the dog walkers of Spital and AR specialists Field, these FOUR WORDS explore hidden narratives of these areas around notions of hygene, imperialism, mythology and popular culture (image above from the mystery Bat stickerer of Spital).

“I had the idea for this project during lockdown 2020, sitting at home and needing to savour and find out more about these areas that are all within a 4km radius of where I live. I wondered if we could look afresh at the familiar and I wanted to work with regional artists only and have socially-distanced walks with them in these places, just looking, chatting, researching and meeting people, gradually peeling back the layers to reveal stories that are not just history but part of people’s everyday lives who have lived here. I’ve been doing these FOUR WORDS projects since 2016, thinking that they are already too many words out there and not wanting to add many more, and I wanted to explore AR as it kind of reflects our interest in narratives that are hidden until you start looking. Some of the things we found were heart-warming, funny or occasionally disturbing but wanted this free app to encourage people to look further for themselves into various important topics.” Alan Dunn (January 2021)

Joseph Cotgrave at site of New Ferry explosion Steve Hardstaff by a vintage lamppost outside Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight Malik Al Nasir site visit, Port Sunlight Singh Twins, site visit to Dibbinsdale Nature Reserve, with Lulu
A4 sign on the boarded up Dibbinsdale Tunnel Close up of sign - bat information! Tawny Owl at other end of 'Bat tunnel', photo: Mark Evans Colin, Hilary and some of the 4 o'clock Club (3 in Winter)
Steve Hardstaff by Port Sunlight War Memorial Singh Twins arriving for Dibbinsdale walk Official Port Sunlight tour with David Lay of the Port Sunlight Trust David by Poet's Corner, named after the now-gone recreation of Shakespeare's birthplace
Masked up for the headphoned Port Sunlight tour The plaque referenced in Steve Hardstaff's FOUR WORDS David's photograph of The Bridge Inn brigde (now gone). The poll voted 80% in favour of alcohol! View of New Ferry from top of Shillings Building, including award-winning Edge & Sons
The butterly emblem of New Ferry and lingering devastation/development Champions of Europe, in Port Sunlight Malik referencing slave documents in Port Sunlight Malik's work on his own slave roots
Community Development expert Paul Kelly inside Shillings Explosion site, New Ferry Lulu seeking her 79p pink ball in the Dibs mud Some familiar and regular Dibs faces
Molly cleans her pink ball in the floods Claremont Farm, Spital Lulu near St Patrick's Well, Brotherton Park Molly (Molly Salah) off to play with Lulu Suarez (aka Puppy Reina)
Sir Colin finds a lucky fiver before a LFC game Dibbinsdale Nature Reserve

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies administering the Government’s unprecedented £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Funds. Find out more here.

We have explored 4 before -

Adventures in numb4rland