A forgotten place is a space put aside in remote drawers of memory, it is not invisible but simply no longer seen. It may remain buried in dust for years, often lying close to a railway, on the edge of a consumed sidewalk.
Its identity is frequently defined by the pretentious words of an advertisement. Seen from a forgotten place, the advertising world seems perfect in its abstraction; it constantly changes with the arrival of a new fad or a new offer, it assaults memory and takes up scornfully the attention of the Reader. A forgotten space does not offer trends nor sells illusions, it becomes slowly a ruin tending towards forms of self-destruction and deterioration; it feeds on urban waste tossed carelessly by human hands or by the breath of a vague wind, and it hides them for years in a silent space of debris.
Forgetting is easier than transforming; its existence does not imply an action but rather a non-action. One day a collective of people might decide to undertake a project which has nothing forecasted, an action that lives per se, with no objective drawn a priori, with no default routes, but only a continuous modelling of the action; that day a deed will help understand that to improve ourselves and the environment around us, is necessary a constant and resolute creative process, a process triggered by memory rather than a lapse. In so doing, a forgotten space will re-enter into the rhythms of the city from which it has been left out for too long, it will change its shape of untrodden ground and finally open up to pause, contemplation and communication.
A remembered place will thus evolve into a city garden. It will slowly try to assert its newfound character struggling assiduously against every slogan whose attempt will be again that of subduing and exploiting it as a commodity. If memory will be persistently maintained and nurtured of new ideas, and if those dusty drawers will never give way to anonymous and inform voids, the imaginative force might then give birth to what may be defined a locus, thus a space that exists as the free expression of itself.
[Based on the experience of The Sensible Garden, a community-based participatory project recently built in Norwood Junction, London]
Forgotten Space_ Norwood Junction, London [ March 2014 ]
Remembered Space_ Norwood Junction, London [ July 2014 ]