NEIL McGUIRE AND MARIANNE ANDERSON
The Golden Tenement investigates urban regeneration and displacement and explores how ideas of ‘city’ and ‘nation’ are perpetuated through ‘mega-events’ such as London 2012 and Glasgow 2014.
The Golden Tenement uses the language of architectural landmark souvenirs (for example The Eiffel Tower or The Statue of Liberty) and their capacity to carry a narrative, to tell stories about large-scale events such as the Commonwealth Games and Olympics. It uses one instance of the eviction of a homeowner, and the demolition of a property, to ask questions about ownership, regeneration, community, value and capital. The tenement, as an iconic, prevalent and successful Scottish building type, connects the idea of a built ‘legacy’ for the city with the architectural history of Glasgow. While physical details of the model tenement, from the typeface used to its connotation with gold medals, elaborate on these narratives, it also affords the possibility for people to connect it to their own stories of regeneration, the city, or of the Games themselves.
Neil McGuire and Marianne Anderson
How does your work for Scotland Can Make It! relate to the notion of 'the souvenir'?
NM: The Golden Tenement evokes a general connection with the idea of iconic architecture (Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal etc.) being shrunk to keyring size as a form of souvenir. In this instance the ubiquitous Scottish Tenement represents both a general Scottish architectural archetype, as well as one very specific incidence of the tenement.
Does your souvenir create associations to a particular time, place or memory?
NM: It is modelled on 10 Ardenlea Street, Dalmarnock, in the East End of Glasgow, which was demolished to make way for the commonwealth games athletes’ village. In this way it is a souvenir of the demolition of the old and construction of the new, and the associated personal stories attached to this set of events.
How important is it that your idea is developed and manufactured in Scotland?
NM: This project is about construction and demolition and it is therefore important that the golden tenement is made in Scotland, and more specifically is Clyde 'built'.
What is the cultural value of working closely with industry partner based in Scotland?
MA: I think it is important to retain skills in Scotland - whether these are industrial or hand skills - for many cultural and economical reasons. Scotland has a great history of building and making and Scotland Can Make It! has given us a great opportunity to purposefully engage with Scottish partners highlighting positive experiences of working locally, such as creating networks and supporting the local economy. Being able to collaborate face to face with manufacturers and use their knowledge of process and available technologies to realise our design is invaluable.
In what way do you feel Scotland Can Make It! challenges or sits alongside the traditional idea of mass produced, low cost merchandise usually available to commemorate such large-scale events as Glasgow 2014?
It is interesting that the project has highlighted the differences between the two. Regular souvenirs / event merchandise that tends to be branded t-shirts, toys, badges and key rings and more often than not manufactured in India or China (as majority of Glasgow 2014 souvenirs are) and have little or no relevance to the place or people. The Scotland Can Make It! products each present a story and highlight a culturally diverse and creative Scotland.