Field Notes

An installation that examines the forces that have influenced the development of urban topography. The dynamics of a locality have been analysed using Alan Turing’s research relating to animal markings.

Turing’s reaction-diffusion theory explains the reaction between two chemicals referred to as the “activator” (a chemical that can replicate) “inhibitor” (a chemical that inhibits the progress of the activator) and demonstrates how they form patterns in nature. This principle of the activator and inhibitor has been applied to urban centres.

For the purposes of the installation the activator and inhibitors can be a number of events, public trends, policy rulings or opinions related to memory. Activators include redevelopment, new development or economic confidence whilst the inhibitor include historical significance, social change or economic viability. Motifs representing the activators and inhibitors were mapped over plans of urban centres. In order to create the images, people living and working in the area were consulted to understand a multiplicity of perspectives.  Through engagement sessions and field research, a picture of the area was developed that enabled a more details understanding of the forces manipulating the physical look and psychological or the city.  The result was a series of large-scale schematic-like generative compositions chronicling, economic optimism, social decline, regeneration or dereliction. The compositions depict the formation of patterns when different data is mapped to the topology of a city.

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