Both windows are in the old Towles Building, a former hosiery factory in Loughborough, UK.
The building is a ‘locally’ listed building. In the Charnwood Borough Council listing one part of the building in terms of fenestration (windows) and brickwork is described as ‘contextually unhappy’. The other part of the building we must assume is then ‘contextually happy’.
I visited the building, which now hosts the wonderful furniture recycling charity SOFA, to see the Nine Frames Project, a project that sees part of the top floor host an ‘unrestricted’ art show and happening space devised and curated by artist Thomas Walker with other art students from Loughborough University. It was in preparing for this visit, with artist photographer Kev Ryan of Charnwood Arts, that I discovered the official listing description of the building and for the first time the term ‘contextually unhappy’. It immediately struck home with me, it’s unwritten counterpoint too ‘contextually happy’.
A text piece came to mind the words ‘CONTEXTUALLY UNHAPPY’ perhaps on a banner, hand painted or otherwise on a bed sheet or some other substrate or echoing the nearby Brush factory, a neon sign, hung on the unhappy side of the building. Another ‘CONTEXTUALLY HAPPY’ hung on the happy side of the building, the Nottingham Road frontage, straight opposite the busy T-junction if possible.
It opens the possibility of a psychogeography type, a splacist drift, through areas labelling stuff contextually happy or unhappy, based on our own reaction to things in relation to other things around them. Catalogues and maps.
Talking it through with Kev I begin to get drawn more to the ‘CONTEXTUALLY HAPPY’ slogan.
Yes I’d wear a T-Shirt with that on it. Better make some.
December 3, 2015
Charnwood Borough Council Local Listing Text:
“Hosiery Factory. Late C19 with C20 addition (on Clarence St). Red/brown brick with piers and terra-cotta cornice surmounting stone string course. Quite plain. Substantial stone dressed neoclassical entrance set within rounded corner ?tower? linking workshops. Flat roof with upstanding parapet and shaped gable to corner tower. 3 storeys. 10 bays fronting Nottingham Road, 6 bays fronting Clarence St (excluding extension). Prominent square boiler stack with corbelled head. Original small paned metal windows largely preserved. Extension in style of original but fenestration and brick colour contextually unhappy.”