• Sunbeam (Artefacts)

      Altintzoglou, Evripidis (Wolverhampton Art Gallery, 2014)
      The Sunbeam project consists of a typology of gates of abandoned industrial sites in the Wolverhampton area, documenting a transition in local economic history. The design of industrial gates is generally driven by functionality and not by aesthetic concerns. Yet, the passage of time and labour have left marks of certain aesthetic interest on these gates, transforming them into iconic monuments of an industrial past that played a major part in the formation of the region’s modern identity. All images were shot in a positive manner under complimentary bright daylight in order to avoid the common melancholic approaches to similar subjects. This allows for conflicting dialectics to come into play, which reconfigure Walter Benjamin’s notion of the ‘ruin’ and revise the ‘straight’ and objective methodology that drives photographic typologies after Bernd and Hilla Becher, and the Düsseldorf School of Photography. As a result, these gates and by extension the industrial history of the Black Country area are celebrated as monuments of a glorious past and in return they offer an optimistic approach towards the future in reference to the city’s moto: From Darkness Cometh Light. The documented sites are located in the immediate area around the Sunbeam factory (the triangle formed between Penn Road - Birmingham Road - Drayton Street) and the area between the train station and the canal side (triangle formed by Walsall Street - Horseley Fields - Middle Cross). A number of these sites are currently undergoing regeneration with new types of businesses and buildings rapidly taking their place.