A Place for ‘The End’ (1999)
Single screen video with sound, 10 minutes.
8 x B&W photographs, (50cm x 80cm)
8 x plaques inscribed with text, installed at 8 different locations around Birmingham.
A Place for ‘The End’ was commissioned as part of Ikon Gallery’s programme of projects which bring together artists and groups of people in Birmingham. Funded by an Arts Council ‘Arts for Everyone’ award and supported by the Henry Moore Foundation.
Text from a guide for visiting the locations for A Place for ‘The End’, published by Ikon:
Where does a film finish? How do we imagine the space outside the frame? How does framing and filming a location create a new impression of that place? Is the framed shot in some way ‘special’ and is what is outside the frame just ‘everyday reality? “A Place for ‘The End'” explores these ideas by bringing together eight local people to work with artist, Adam Chodzko, and a film crew. … The involvement of the group was also central to the artist’s aim of exploring commonly-held, personal ideas and shared imagination. The project began with each participant selecting a location in Birmingham as though it were a setting for the final scene of an imaginary film. The group then visited each of these eight places and discussed different ways of framing the selected view. For the photographing and filming of each location, the group of location selectors also became a ‘cast’. They are depicted moving away from the camera, sometimes even disappearing into the spaces they chose. They are also back-lit, turned into silhouettes, suggesting a mood of dusk; the setting sun at the end of a day. In the resulting film, these eight ‘Ends’ alternate with a scene of a woman on a telephone in a room high above the centre of Birmingham. She too is silhouetted against this panoramic cityscape. For the gallery installation the photographs are hung behind a monitor showing the film. So that other people can continue to visit, explore and re-view the spaces used, plaques have been placed at each location.
Visiting all the sites highlights the range of locations chosen. These choices have been influenced as much by the participants’ everyday environment, memories and experiences as by the conventions of film and television drama. As such the locations are both private and public spaces. Perhaps, they can even be seen as ‘portraits’ of the people who chose them. For each place there is a photograph of the exact shot used, an address or site description and a grid reference from the A-Z. Birmingham Street Atlas (Standard 311 to 1 mile version). Near the camera position for each image is a plaque with the location description detailed in this guide. Using this information and the images it is possible to locate the exact position of the camera view.
Underneath Hockley Flyover
A-Z ref: 1G 73
Chosen by Natalia Morris
Plaque inscription: Crouching in front of the central lamp post, keeping the middle line of bricks in the centre of your view, imagine a widescreen rectangle with the left border 2 metres from the left side of the left flyover pillar and the
right border 2 metres from the right side of the right flyover pillar.
Opposite 76 Tindal Street
A- Z ref: 2A 90
Chosen by Steve Bishop
Plaque inscription: Standing on the pavement on the other side of the road from number 76 Tindal Street, imagine a widescreen rectangle with the left border through the tree in the entrance to the playground and the right border to the right of the entrance to flats 44-54.
Field off Corwen Croft
A-Z ref: 2G 103
Chosen by Martin Shields
Plaque inscription: Standing at the edge of the track just behind the small tree facing uphill towards the dead tree, imagine a widescreen rectangle with the left border through the right edge of the middle block of flats and the right border through the tree on the horizon to the right of the farmhouse.
Underneath Canal Railway Bridge
Off Old Snow Hill
A-Z ref: 2H 73
Chosen by Joshua Holmes
Plaque inscription: Standing 2 metres from the canal, opposite the third archway in, facing toward Livery Street, imagine a widescreen rectangle with the right border through the right edge of the office tower block in the distance and the left border seven arches along on the other side of the canal.
Off Ladywood Road and Cawdor Crescent
A-Z ref: 4E 73
Chosen by Sophie Mason
Plaque inscription: Crouching down, facing the basketball court, imagine a widescreen rectangle with the left border just left of the entrance to the tyre swing and the right border through the right corner of the basketball court.
Edge of Edgbaston Reservoir
Next to Tower Dancing and Banqueting Suite Off Reservoir Road,
A-Z ref: 3E 73
Chosen by Velimir Ilic
Plaque inscription: Standing in the middle of the path facing the car park imagine a widescreen rectangle with the left border through the left edge of the beginning of the underpass and the right border half way between the second and third columns from this end.
Opposite Capitol Cinema (disused)
Alum Rock Road
A-Z ref: 2H 75
Chosen by Elizabeth Mullally
Plaque inscription: Standing on the British Telecom manhole cover, facing the disused cinema imagine a widescreen rectangle with the left border through the right hand side of the cinema doorway and the right border through the middle of the tallest tree.
Outside 104 Nechells Place
A-Z ref: 1D 7 4
Chosen by Diane Taylor
Plaque inscription: Crouching down in the middle of the road opposite the entrance for 104, Nechells Place, facing uphill, imagine a widescreen rectangle with the left border through right edge of the industrial units and the right border through the nearest lamp post on the right.
Excerpt from an interview between David Barrett and Adam Chodzko, Art Monthly, no.229, September, pp.29–31, 1999
DB: You mentioned A Place for ‘The End’, would you like to describe that piece?
AC: This also deals with some kind of end space. I’m preoccupied with what, in our culture, is the separation point between things that are ‘obviously’ fictions and things that are ‘obviously’ real, and what happens to perception as you move between the two spaces. I always think that when the credits come up in the cinema there’s a weird feeling of embarrassment, because people have to re-engage with the person they’re sitting next to, and the fact that they’ve been in a social space the whole time, sitting with a lot of strangers and the smell of popcorn.
DB: It’s only when you leave the cinema that you realise everyone else has also been in that extremely personal space of fiction too: a place where you think you’re alone.
AC: I always love watching people coming out of the cinema because they have this look of having been somewhere else – back from holiday or something. Standing there blinking in the sunlight, not yet willing to give their verdict on what they saw. I think this expansion and contraction of our perception into real and fictional spaces is a very major part of our contemporary experience. A Place for ‘The End’ is about that awkward space of endings, and it began with a question, asking where should a film end?
DB: So what does the project actually consist of?
AC: I put together a group of strangers and I asked them to choose a location where they thought a film might end. I don’t know why they picked certain locations, but they tended to pick places that had some sort of emotional charge for them. Some of them are quite innocuous looking and some of them are quite dramatic looking, but they’re all kind of non-spaces around the city that you probably wouldn’t acknowledge otherwise. Having selected these places, we filmed what looks like the ending of a film happening in each location, with the group of people disappearing off into the background of their own spaces. It’s as though they’re disappearing into these choices that they’ve made.
And a further element of the work is a series of plaques at each location, which simply describes a widescreen rectangle. ‘Two metres from this plaque, crouching down at waist-level, from the trees on the left to the tower block on the right. Imagine a widescreen rectangle…’ — that sort of thing.
DB: So, they’re public works, the plaques?
AC: Yeah, they’re the kind of things that you come across when walking your dog. (I assume everyone has a dog! ) They don’t describe what happened; they just state it as a location for the end of the film. I hope that they create an auratic buzz around a certain section of space in the city, which the space around that frame somehow doesn’t have.
The artwork functioning as a form of guide for the viewer in order to perceive ‘something else’ – beyond the apparent art object – is an ongoing theme in Chodzko’s practice and, as well as A Place for ‘The End,’ can be seen in works such as eg: Better Scenery (2000 – ), A Plan for a Spell (2001), Mask Filter (2004), Night Shift (2004), Ghost (2010 -), and Deep Above (2016), etc. The listing of individually banal details, in descriptions of, or instructions about a place in order to catalyse a glimpse of a transcendent space beyond it (as Chodzko used in the 8 plaques’ defining The End’s cinematic frames) is also apparent in Settlement (2004), Better Scenery (2000 – ), and Nightvision (1998). The possibility of cinematic space becoming expanded, inverted, subverted and shared also occurs in works such as From Beyond (1995), and Reunion; Salò (1998), Nightvision (1998) etc, as well as A Place for ‘The End’ .