Box On Wheels


Coupled with a growing urge to invert parliament over the past few years and my inability to finally reinstate ETC on road, I took to building a box obscura on wheels and push and pull it by hand from Deptford to Westminster and back again. The initial test-run took place on the eve of Christmas eve, 2015.

Using old signs discarded by the Bird’s Nest, a load of estate agent poles I cleaned up off the A2/20 between Deptford and New Cross Gate and a sturdy wheel base I found knocking around SE8, I got to building the box at The Hive in Hackney, a community and social space on KIngsland Road. I should’ve got it together for the Bimble Bandada, summer of 2015 and then again for an actual exhibition at The Hive in September but it seems the cosmos was set to delay me and what should’ve been a pretty straightforward construction turned into a very lengthy mission.

Top of the ‘to-do list’ was ‘measure access out of building’…quite typically I lost the list on commencing construction and it was only some time into the build that I remembered that crucial aspect. Fortunately, I’d randomly measured it with not a millimeter to spare and it just about squeezed around and down the stairwell and through the doors…I predict it would not fit back in again but that’s fine as there’s no need to bother with that.

The box was then knocking around at the end of Eileen awaiting the necessary equipment to carry out the ridiculous mission that finally came together a week before the end of the year. Really, I had to make it happen or else I would’ve deemed myself a complete wreck and failure as nothing went particularly smoothly last year. boxeileen box

It’s funny seeing these photos together as suddenly the box looks quite small next to ETC when is actually big enough for me to function inside whilst inverting and exposing reality…and even take the occasional nap, for example on first arrival at Westminster not only was it dark but it was raining and so I slept a bit, quite snug I’ll have you know.

Anyhow, back to the point. It actually doesn’t take much longer getting about with a cumbersome box than without and in fact it seemed to shrink the Old Kent Road. Terry will testify to this as he helped me on the first lap and came as far as Newington Causeway at which point he got the bus home and admitted to that journey seeming like a lifetime and the box trip like some kind of sped up timewarp.

By the time I was returning the following morning of Christmas Eve, a quiet morning as I hadn’t wanted to get caught up in human traffic, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the experience and laughing with the Great Creator at the sense of affinity I felt to life and my somewhat crazy antics, no it u lovE.R…and then came the rain and gale-force wind. Thank goodness for Rankine the Clown who picked us up in ScumDonald’s Drive-Thru carpark.

It wasn’t until our return to Deptford that I actually developed the exposed paper I had used, in a shower cubicle that is a squeeze at the best of times and at this point, pure endurance. Quite lucky to be in such close proximity to a toilet as I have to admit the excitement of seeing the prints come through really was second to none, oh, other than the next time that is.

It had still been my utmost ambition to fix up ETC for the official ‘Monday to Friday, Nine to Five shot’ as any creative demonstration I carry out in connection with parliament has to be during office hours and further more, with a name like thearmed909, the timing seemed quite obvious to me. However, the suicide of a dear friend, Rainbow Mel John early in the year prompted me to repeat the trip with the box again as who knows when ETC will be fit and ready.

I commenced this trip alone and went north of the river this time as well, much to the disdain of the Met and the context of the location I was at…To their relief, I explained south of the river was more to my liking as the sun was likely to blind my shot and following a couple of test-shot compositions, headed back over the bridge to my faithful point of perspective tucked next to the tourist kiosk outside St. Thomas’s hospital and surprised myself at the speed with which I captured a series of spell-binding photographs, including the crucial ‘09.09am-E.R.’…

Dear Will came and met us down the Old Kent Road on the way back and worked up a sweat within seconds of taking hold of the box whilst I walked slowly behind him chuckling…

This story will be continued but the fact of the matter is that I have now calmed my growing urge to invert parliament although I still have a sneaky suspicion it could happen again, 3 times lucky and all that…