Cracks, fissures and other thoughts on concrete governmentalities is the result of a collaborative research project between artist Samuel de Lange and curator Alasdair Campbell.
In 1963 after receiving an anonymous tip-off, the activist group ‘Spies for Peace’ broke into a secret government facility at Warren Row, close to Reading. They presented their findings in a pamphlet DANGER! OFFICIAL SECRET, which exposed the locations of all 14 Regional Seats of Government (RSG) sites around the UK. These were built to house the political elite in the event of a nuclear attack, and included RSG11, a secret bunker at Barnton Quarry, Edinburgh. The pamphlet itself was the subject of a D-Notice which requested newspaper editors and radio stations not to divulge its contents to the general public.
Taking this pamphlet as an entry point, the exhibition explores Barnton Quarry as a site of multiple histories and spatial tensions. A site-specific installation of sculptural and photographic components responds to the architectures, materialities and surfaces of the bunker. Original archival materials form temporal dialogues between the past and present of the site – from a concrete manifestation of governmental anxieties and calculated risk, to disrepair and restoration. The exhibition is presented as an open-ended enquiry into how relations between governments and publics can be articulated through architectural space.
With special thanks to investigative journalist and forensic expert Dr Duncan Campbell.