The language of living

A range of factors has contributed to a housing crisis in London. These include, lack of social and affordable housing, rising rents, councils budget cuts and disparity in wage affecting many residents. This is despite a construction boom spawning large residential building projects, redevelopments, and a wave of gentrification which continues to sweep thought the city. Many of these new building projects have little or no affordable housing in their plans.

Idealised CGI imagery and slick promotional videos marketing new developments are matched by wording in brochures, hoardings and websites. The language used sells these projects as a lifestyle, evoking notions of luxury, exclusivity, identity and culture. The sales pitches are homogeneous so alike that they can be interchanged regardless whether the building is in the east end or south of the river.  

The language of living explores the use of words by decoupling them from the seductive imagery that puts them in context and thus laying bare some of the more subtle meanings that are at play.  From this, it is able to interrogate mechanisms marketing these developments. The work focuses on the imagined and real identities of buyers, housing stock as investment, perceptions of communities, locations, wealth and lifestyles.

The notion of luxury sold is at odds with the urgent reality facing the citizens of London.




The language of living Installation for Art Language Location, Cambridge, 2015.

You'll need new words to do it justice


You’ll need new words to do it justice takes this exploration further by isolating and alphabetically ordering individual verbs, adjectives and nouns appropriated from these London developments.

The work continues the approach of looking at language used to market the buildings. These single words, even removed from a sentence, can, connote ephemeral values, ideal lifestyles, abstract attributes and sell fantasies that the building supposedly holds, which projects onto its potential residence and the area it is located.

When studied thought this process, this language can boarder on the ridiculous. It is exaggerated, sometimes contradictory, strange, ambiguous, changing the original intended use of linking text to desirable attributes, and values in mass developments.

The work also acts as a database of language used and will be added too when unique words are found.

The full database of words can be found here

60 x 500cm