A brief sunshine

This week I’m contributing five short visual stories to Grafik magazine’s Daily Type series. You can read them here. I thought I’d include a couple more stories right here, for good measure.

So, the installation you can see in the image above is by Joseph Kosuth, and you’ll find it in Southwark. The words are from the closing chapter of Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers. It lights up at night, but I rather like the darkness of the daytime version. The letters have been there for some years now and are nicely weathered. A ‘the’ has gone off for a walk too, perhaps down to the marshes of Kent. The full piece reads:

There are dark shadows on the earth but its lights are stronger in the contrast. Some men, like bats or owls, have better eyes for the darkness than for the light. We who have no such optical powers are better pleased to take our last parting look at the visionary companions of many solitary hours, when the brief sunshine of the world is blazing full upon them. CD.

Here are some more words from Dickens to be found living on the streets of London. In this case it’s an excerpt from a piece he wrote for a magazine he co-owned, Household Words. You’ll find these in Spitalfields Market, adorning what used to be an electric power substation. During the day the text is intriguingly subdued – white on white. At night the writing box lights up, and its warm, glowing colours lure in passers-by as they move through the otherwise empty market space. Seb & Fiona created this piece of public art with design agency Imagist and architects Jestico + Whiles. It’s certainly a great way to turn a functional bit of a building into a delight, and I like that the words they have chosen are relevant to the context and full of the personality of the writers. Here’s a view of the construction from another side, this time with some writing by Spitalfields author Jeanette Winterson. I’ll try to photograph the remaining sides, which carry words by Samuel Pepys and Peter Ackroyd.


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