Riding down the rear of the Garth on Sunday, I was stopped in my tracks at the gate (naturally enough. A gate tends to get in the way). Positioned to my left and blinding in the reflection of the sun was an art sculpture – L5-6QW, the silent protest. Given that I’m on the mountain at least once a week, it came as quite a surprise to see these elevated polished metal cubes gazing over Mid-Glamorgan and the distant Brecon Beacons. So what exactly is L5-6QW and why is it on the Garth?
…its two things, it’s firstly the post code for a house in Anfield, Liverpool, England. Secondly it’s the name of a sculpture and this project……The aim is to monitor, discuss and document the life of the work after leaving the studio. It will also be a place to record the relationships made throughout the process and follow the plight of funding a project that seeks to highlight issues regarding social housing in the UK……It is a work that is destined to travel around the country telling its tale as it moves. It’s made from steel called perma-screen, which is used to board up housing all over the UK…..A government think tank decided that it was a better idea to demolish rather than refurbish rows and rows of Victorian terrace houses. The occupiers of this privately owned home were forced to move for a knock down price and leave their home behind.
(The above is an amalgam of the website details and the board in the image).
Aside from being an unusual and welcome addition to the Garth’s landscape (art that makes you think is always worthwhile in my book), it touched upon one of my pet grievances; wasted space and destroyed heritage. How often do we bulldoze perfectly good Victorian/Edwardian housing to make way for something altogether less meaningful? The same applies to brownfield sites. I regularly pass post industrial wasteland that sits idly, very slowly accumulating value for their property speculating owners, whilst green belt land is eroded on the fringes of cities across the UK. It’s enough to make you weep. Like most of us I suspect, I have no desire to be lamenting the loss of our heritage in the not too distant future. I want my daughter to recognise Victorian heritage when she sees it and to enjoy the same green, rolling landscape that I did as a kid. Better still, I’d like her to enjoy it all from the saddle of a bike.
If you want to learn more about L5-6QW, you can access the website here.