Cat Auburn

Condition Report 1967 (2016)

27 min 2 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

Condition Report 1967 concerns a building called the Royal Arcade (1832-1963), a significant example of the Tyneside classical-style architecture unique to the city of Newcastle (UK). The Royal Arcade was demolished in 1963 to make way for a giant roundabout at the heart of a new motorway bypass. Local officials promised to reassemble the façade of the Royal Arcade close to its original site. The stones of the façade were carefully numbered, dismantled and stored, but the façade was never reconstructed.

In addition to the video, other components of the installation include; a large photograph of the West Façade of the Royal Arcade with a periodic table-like grid; a heavy plaster column cast in 1:1 scale to the orginal dimensions of the facade bricks; a white safety net suspending the column; and two brass plaques, one with engraved gps coordinates inviting viewers to visit the location of the former The Royal Arcade, where a second plaque lists the gps coordinates for finding the remaining pieces of stonemasonry and other sites significant to the building, whilst leaving room for more coordinates to be added in the future. This is a permanent installation in agreement with Newcastle City Council.

Condition Report 1967 is a project of several parts or measures; much like the scattered fragments of the Royal Arcade, they can never truly articulate the whole that they reference. One such part is a film that condenses the various sites of the Royal Arcade into one location onscreen. Images of moss-covered columns in a winter-bare park are interlaced with the arcade replica in its current incarnation as a Thai restaurant. This imagery is coupled with the crisp BBC narration of a 1967 document from the Tyne and Wear Archives citing the condition of each stone."

Artist's statement

Other works by Cat Auburn

CIRCUIT is the
leading voice
for artist moving image
in Aotearoa New Zealand,
distributing works,
critical review and
which reflect our unique, contemporary
South Pacific context.