I have been working on a project entitled STATION X for a year at Bletchley Park, Home of the World War Two Codebreakers.
STATION Xoffers a multi-sensory insight into the disused buildings of Bletchley Park, (otherwise known as STATION X), the home of the World War Two Codebreakers, and arguably one of Britain’s most important historical sites.
Eleven thousand people worked in secret at Bletchley Park during World War Two and were sworn to secrecy about their activities for the following thirty years. Bletchley Park is where the first programmable electronic computer was invented and this exhibition coincides with the centenary celebrations of the birth of Alan Turing, the ‘father of computer science’, who worked at Bletchley Park.
This exhibition documents the visual and aural histories imbued in the very fabric of the disused buildings, before they are lost when planned renovation takes place.
Four artists were granted special access to document these highly atmospheric buildings, which are usually inaccessible to the public owing to their dangerous state of repair. Over the period of a year, the artists endured extremely harsh conditions whilst working in rooms that have been unventilated and only occupied by rats and pigeons for decades.
The exhibition is the result of a unique collaboration between sound artist Caroline Devine, photographer Rachael Marshall, fine artist Maya Ramsay and filmmaker Luke Williams. Together they provide a contemporary interpretation of Station X; this includes work made from surfaces lifted from the walls of the buildings, recordings of sounds produced by and within the decaying buildings and photographic and filmed documentation of the buildings.
In some of the buildings it appears as if the workers have just downed tools and left; a rusty coat hanger swings on a hook with a name scrawled on it and diagrams lie in a file covered in mould. Others provide fascinating insights into what happens when nature is left to its own devices in a building for two and a half decades.