Laid to Rest
Commissioned by the Wellcome Collection as part of “Dirt” 2011
Laid to Rest, The Brick Keepers Dance
Dust is everywhere, it is part of us and the smallest of visible particles. “Laid to Rest” continues my fascination with the overlooked by transforming dust collected from houses, businesses and institutions into 500 commemorative bricks. Inspired by the commercialization of waste in Victorian London from the dust heaps of Gray’s Inn Rd to the engineering achievements of Joseph Bazalgette’s sewage system. The dust heaps were monuments to the invisible and provided a major source of income. One of the industries to be born out of the heaps was London brick making: ash, cinders and rubbish from the heaps were mixed with the mud of nearby brick fields to produce the humble brick. Each brick made as part of “Laid to Rest” contains specific dust from the contributing house, business or institution mixed in to clay. Imprinted on each brick are the contributor’s initials cataloguing their transformation from the barely visible to the palpable. The brick stack grew over the course of the exhibition and a mythical marching band “The Brick Keepers” consecrated the bricks combining choral incantations and ritual dance in a tribute to the overlooked and forgotten.