‘Urbansuburban; imagining a memory’ – Rachel Barbaresi
16 November - 18 November
OVADA presents a spectacular installation of new work by artist, Rachel Barbaresi, which will fill Westgate Oxford’s Leiden Square with light from 16th – 18th November 2018. The artwork, influenced by the Christmas Light Festival’s theme of ‘undiscovered Oxford’ uses innovative smart glass technology from G-SMATT as an impressive digital canvas.
The project has been inspired by a structure, locally known as ‘the golf ball’, which appeared in Oxford outside the multi-storey car park in 1974. For some it symbolised the arrival of modernity in the dreaming spires – realising a vision of machines and technology within a new road network that would thwart the frustrations of gridlock which the city had struggled with for decades. For others it represented the loss of a familiar way of life and the break-up of a community.
‘The golf ball’ was used for surveillance, enabling security guards to observe movements in and around the car park. This groundbreaking technology quickly became obsolete and twenty-five years after it was opened, the iconic structure was demolished, sounding the death knell for the original 1970s Westgate Centre development. When Oxford based artist Barbaresi started working with images of St Ebbe’s at different stages of the area’s history, ‘the golf ball’ became a metaphor for fragmented moments of time, used for reflecting, cropping and layering the pieces of history discovered in archives and donated by former residents of the area.
This work, specially created for Christmas Light Festival 2018 and sited in the place of the former ‘golf ball’ structure, combines drawings from Barbaresi’s long-term series, ‘urbansuburban’with animation by Andy Coram. The work explores the lost promise of the iconic landmark and the glamour and new energy it briefly suggested for Oxford’s post-war future.
Barbaresi’s ‘urbansuburban’ book will be on display alongside the dynamic digital installation, which includes past accounts of life in St Ebbe’s.
Friday 16 November: 10am – 8pm
Saturday 17 November: 9am – 8pm
Sunday 18 November: 11am – 5pm
Further information about the Christmas Light Festival: www.oxfordschristmas.com
Directions to Westgate Oxford: www.westgateoxford.co.uk/your-visit/getting-here. Once inside Westgate Oxford, follow signs for Leiden Square on the Ground Floor.
With special thanks for the generous support from Westgate Oxford, G-SMATT Europe, Oxford City Council Events and Culture Teams, Ian Nolan Events, Andy Coram, Kieran Cox, Film Oxford, Oxfordshire History Centre, Oxford Mail and participants of urbansuburban who have generously donated time, photographs and stories to the project.