Documenting the Lanes

Matt CookWords0 Comments

Lanes, Alleys, Gulleys; whatever one prefers to call them – in Cardiff they are fast becoming an endangered species due to the Councils gating scheme. While the reasons for closing the back lanes are fully understandable, it feels as if the city is losing something of its identity.

The back lanes made to city feel something like a huge rabbit warren, it was once possible to navigate large sections of the city just using these alleys greatly increasing the citys psychogeographical charm. During a drift one could leave one unity of ambience via a back lane and reemerge into a quite different one, thus expanding the sense of spatial and emotional disorientation of the walk.

Of course the lanes also have their own unity of ambience, their own unique character that attracts people into them. If the street represents the shiny surface, the shopfront, the public persona; the back lanes embody a sense of the behind or the hidden, the functional space that needs not be tidy. In the lanes it is possible to see juxtapositions of colour, peeling paintwork, rust, urban decay and layers of repair; all very beautiful in their own right.

A current victim (or saviour) of the alley gating scheme is the area around the studio, adjacent to Whitchurch Road in Gabalfa. This project is an attempt to document something of the back alleys in the district before they become inaccessible.

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