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Capturing Newmarket Road with a £110,000 'rusty' fence

By Ben Comber

Waveform - Public Art at former Wests Garage Site
Waveform - Public Art at former Wests Garage Site

There's no sitting on the fence when it comes to public art and the new installation planned to embrace the history of Newmarket Road will be no different.

Described as “a sensory perimeter wall that reflects the voices of the people who look at it”, the artwork will run along the length of new student flats.

The flats will occupy the former West’s Garage Site at the junction of Newmarket Road and River Lane.

Wavelength – a working title – is envisaged to be an “exciting visual addition to the area” that will “provide interest both to residents and passers-by”.

Artist Michael Brennand-Wood, whose fee amounts to £15,000 of the expenditure, said: “Wavelength is envisaged as a flowing constellation of references and imagery that references the area’s rich history.

“On a formal, practical level it will provide a low-maintenance, decorative screen that creates security and privacy. I envisage the design as something people of all ages can access, an image that unfolds over time, slowly changing through the years.”

Stories and anecdotes will be collected from residents at a series of meetings and will be transformed into waveforms.

“I was drawn to a use of words, descriptions and phrases that describe learning and the movement of water and people,” Mr Brennand-Wood continued.

Reaction on Twitter has been mixed. Neil Bharadwa wrote: “I drive past here about six times a day. Trust me. A rusty gate really doesn’t reflect my voice.”

However, Dan Frost wrote: “I live near it and would like it... but only for the nerdy soundwave-like look of it. Give me something that looks like a digram or chart and I’m won over.”

The project is set for completion in October. It will cost £110,475.


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