To introduce his piece here is Oliver Bradley-Baker.
So I had this idea for this piece when I was younger, maybe 8, maybe 9. I was sitting with my dad in the laundrette waiting for the cycle to Finnish, when the power cut out. This is why I made this piece.
I just remember being confused, the lights went out and all the machines ground to a halt. We just sat their and thats when I had this idea about the world spinning round, and what would happen if it just stoped, haha, we had been taught in class about the planets and sun and that, but who know hey. I think I was scared of the dark too, which didn't help. Soon enough thought the power came back on and everything continued, Im not sure why it went off.
Looking back, I think its the first time I was interrupted, or noticed I was been interrupted, something about that day was different. What was normal was questioned. Maybe it wasn't the fist time but simply the first time I noticed. Its a bit of an odd memory to have but its stuck.
In my head its just so vivid that image of the all the machines clonking out, and everyone in their sitting silently for a while. I remember some people eventually getting up and walking over checking on their clothes - others not really even noticing it had happened.
When I was asked to make a piece about the laundrette I though it was a bit of an odd choice of location. At first it bored me, I rarely visit the place as my mother still dose my washing, haha, I send it home every couple of week and she sends me a fresh set up. So I went down out my flat and found the nearest laundrette on google maps. And when and sat there for an hour or two. I actually found the whole experience quite relaxing, and next time you do your washing would highly recommend you taking 40 minuets out your day to just sit and watch.
I didn't actually wash anything myself so maybe the experience was faux - like going to a theme park and just imagining the fun you could have on the rides. Anyway, this step back was great and gave me some ideas to explore further, I was captivated by that spin, and that memory of my childhood came back to me again? Also I think the smell, you know, its like a warm small. if there is such a thing. The smell of the dryer is the best.
I watched this lecture on the Umvelt the other day, it was about are spheres of perception, and how we remember stuff best when it comes through all senses. I guess at the age of 8 a laundrette must of been overwhelming, the sound, the smell, and that cyclic spin of the machines. at the time I just remember being a little bored though.
Anyway getting back to the piece, so this idea I had when I was young, of the world spinning and then stoping, came to mind when I was sitting in the washing room. I felt this connection from this to some of my recent work. I have recently made a piece using GIFs and there spinning motion reminded me of the machines, washing machines, our machines, our phones and computers.
The GIF was inspired by ferry journey I took over summer from the faro islands to the city of Tromsø at top of Norway. The ferry set of around 8pm just as the sun was setting, I sat out on the deck watching the sun go down. At first I didn't notice but after around the hour mark, I released the sun hadn't really moved. At first I thought this was cause we were sailing towards the sunset, but then I remembered we must be headed due east, so were headed away.
Then the obvious struck, we in the artic circle, the sun just hit the horizon then started to rise again,. This 5hr sunset/rise was honestly truly inspiring, unforgiving, but agin only a few were out on the deck to witness.
Agin this memory of an interruption of a kind, well more lack of interruption. The cycle we are so used to seeing being stoped, well not stoped but warping and changing form. I think the very idea of a day being brought into question had quite an impact for thous of us who live a little further south, but for the ‘Noaweges’ on board it was there standard summer day. We get a sense in the change in spring and autumn with the days getting lighter or darker by 5 minuets every day, but we still sleep in the night and wake in the day. Over here the the boundary is blurred, you lose your wristwatch and phone and soon you just sleep when your tiered, until you realise all the shops and the laundrette is closed.
All these thoughts seemed a little to deep for that of a laundry room. But what better place to think? haha, A dull droning noise, hot atmosphere, overpowering smells - almost like a hot yoga room or some other meditative place. A place of reflection, to think about your day - to remove yourself from that cycle that is rarely questioned. Even when the washing is done and the machine clangs to a halt, the opening doors to reveal your hot steamy underwear, nothing clicks,
you fail to notice,
Rebecca Birch, Pendle Laundrette and the phd philosophy student who chatted to me while I washed my clothes.