The project involved the production of 100 site markers around the grounds celebrating the 100th anniversary of the cemetery.
Celebrating the centenary of Bootle Cemetery with a series of art features the artworks also improve sightlines around the grounds. The artworks explore themes such as local architecture and its connection between the cemetery and the local community that travel between these places.
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During the public engagement at the arts centre meeting many areas and locations in and around Bootle were discussed. All of them had some kind of meaning for the individuals present and some of the places had nicknames.For the project I explained that I wanted to showcase the cemetery as a key aspect of Bootle and tie it in with other equally influential aspects and buildings of the area. We began to discuss how individuals would catch a bus through Bootle and how the bus conductor would have colloquial titles for bus stops, which were situated by key buildings along the bus route. For example, when the bus would stop at the Richmond Sausages factory, it would be called, “place of mystery”, because no one quite knew what they put in the sausages! And so we discussed other similar landmarks around Bootle and how the arts centre members were in someway connected to those areas, sometimes in a quite an important and personal way.
On many of the features, marks will form a series of lines, dots, dashes similar to the way in which roads, paths, lanes, footpaths and bridle ways are described in Ordnance Survey maps. This is a key aspect of what was explored during an art session with the local school. A recognition of the pupils involvement will be shown through a feature displaying some of their work.
In the artworks this vocabulary of marks presents a narrative describing a combination of roads, buildings, people and journeys.
The buildings shown using this technique are Bootle docks, Old Lane Johnson Dye Works, Marsh Lane Baths and Litherland lift bridge. Their titles or ‘nick names’ are written in Morse Code.
There are also artworks with a visual graphic reference to these places which I think mirror the humour expressed by the bus conductor all those years ago. For example there is an artwork showing a box of cereal which represents the giant Kellogg corn mill built in Seaforth.
Thanks to Ted Bricknell for his wonderful suggestion that the dots and dashes I had incorporated into draft designs based upon walking routes looked very like ‘morse code’. This theme has been developed further. The military aspect of Morse code also relates to the soldiers killed in action and the civilian victims of the war whom are buried in the cemetery I have introduced a profile and portrait of soldiers to emphasise this aspect.
The project tied in with the centenary of WW1 in 2014.