Point of Interest. Photos Peter Marlow (1/3)Posted: June 1, 2011
Empty Office, Clerkenwell, 2002. Photo © Peter Marlow (from Point of Interest, courtesy of the photographer and The Wapping Project Bankside*).
Katy Evans-Bush writes:
The Future Tense
The office as its redundant workers move out is spotted with relics of human degradation: that is, of the letdown from future perfect to mere life.
The screw stuck in the wall, reminder of that award for the old campaign that no one still here now remembers – although it was great work and targets were exceeded – surrounded by nails that hold their heads proud, knowing they held up the proofs of its successes.
Comfortable tea stains, paper clips wedged where the desk didn’t quite meet the wall, a blotched photo of Sarah who worked here half a decade ago, with a small child; she’d be wanting that back, if anyone knew where to find her now. Bits of phone chargers. A chocolate egg in foil. A bit of silk ribbon, some one-legged scissors, a dusty old bottle of Bristol Cream: why is it blue? Are they really that colour? A sad pile of paperbacks no one will ever read: Windows for Dummies and guides to blogging for businesses. Blu-Tack smears where no one thought they’d matter. Sticker-marks on the phones, where someone put the new supplier’s number. Dirt on the sills from the plants the receptionist had to water, because optimism always wins out. Optimism and sheer daily labour.
The pure pristine will deepen even out the window, with a screaming green that seems to creep from the trees and into the souls of the workers. Like algae. The natural world takes over, and things get done because they can’t be prevented, like dental decay or ambition.
Things can’t stay clean forever. People are people and every negotiation will be tarnished. Its spreading spots will eat at your blind belief in silver and grey and the functional streamline that bypasses doubt and loops back to the bank, via mobile phones, and suits with reinforced shoulders, and platinum cardholders.
Forget your cheap tiles screaming masculine thrust from the Carpetland down on the roundabout. This office was made for pink fluffy sweaters, cake crumbs, to-do lists, pictures of cats, the darkening water in a vase, nail files and overstuffed folders.
… for The London Column. © Katy Evans-Bush 2011.
* Point of Interest is showing at The Wapping Project Bankside, London SE1, until 2 July 2011.