Film can be a tool for social change and challenge opinion and preconceived views in order to break barriers of understanding and encourage discussion between communities and societies.
As part of this research project I'll be making a film that will express the views and memories of several frequent users of the two areas of research – Gordon Square, Woolwich and St Helier Open Space, Sutton.
The film aims to initiate dialogue around the uses of such public space, highlight thoughts around the design and illuminate memories and stories that have occurred in these places. On meeting contributors for the project, I have discussed how they use the respective spaces; how frequently they visit; how the space makes them feel, both in the past and present; what they think about whilst sitting; and potential changes for the future they feel could improve these locations.
The humble bench will be the micro-loci for the film. The bench can be a site where one can find a practical and welcome respite from exhausting activity and a peaceful place of contemplation. The bench can also act as a meeting place for friends, or an unexpected stranger of which a new friendship or foe can originate. Public benches can also provide a poignant memory of a loved one through a memorial via the engraved plaque.
Principally, the film will reveal personal stories of bench users; stories that if one was a passerby in either of the research locations, one would potentially have no idea that the bench user had such tales to tell. The film will act like that stranger who joins you on a bench to ‘watch the world go by’ and break the ice by starting a conversation with their fellow bench user.