Friday, 16 February 2007

China proposal – A journey to collect a granite kerbstone from China for installation in Broadmead.

As well as being built by a workforce from over fifty different nations, the materials used to construct the new Cabot centre are procured and processed from right around the world. There are people involved directly in the building of a new city centre for Bristol who are unlikely ever to see it. Likewise, once the buildings are complete and functioning, all those people so intimately involved will soon be forgotten.

The intention is to trace the journey of one Kerbstone from quarry face in China to installation in Broadmead. I propose making a trip to China, visiting and recording the quarry and factory, – acquiring one single Kerbstone, inscribed in some way [yet to be determined] by those involved. The stone will then be brought back to Bristol overland by train and truck by me.

Once in Bristol the Kerbstone will be installed in the street [site to be determined] – a touchstone for those who notice. In addition the documented journey will exist as a record of the process of one single element in the whole development.

The kerbstones, though very visible, are probably one of the most mundane elements in the scheme as a whole. How often have you looked down when you are crossing the street and thought about what you are standing on? And yet in the refurbished streets around Broadmead you are likely to be standing on a very small piece of China. The granite used in Broadmead is G654 and is from the Jia Jhing quarry in the Fujian Province of China.

Although the intention is to respond creatively, there are serious issues which underpin this idea; Issues of sustainability and social responsibility when sourcing material from very different countries and cultures.

This whole journey has been made possible by Kevin Hives of Stonepave UK who are the contract suppliers for Broadmead. They are arranging access to the quarry which is owned by the Chinese government and to their factories in China. Without their fantastic support this project would not be possible.