An Excavation of Memory and Imagination,

2020-Ongoing

'An Excavation of Memory and Imagination is a live research project conducted by myself which explores the cultural heritage of a derelict space in Blackburn. My research uncovered stories of a subterranean youth prog-rock nightclub in the 1970s-80s Blackburn called Peepers.

Peepers was and still is little known, however in the circles of those who went, the place was a local legend. A sub-community led nightclub founded by three brothers known as the Three Peakes. 

The three brothers, Geoff, Gordon and Brian Peake, provided a space for local school teenagers to escape on a Friday night, bang heads to rock music, drink pop and burn joss sticks. The self rganised community of Peepers created a subcultural atmosphere of heavy sound, flourescent psychedelic murals, UV lighting, smells of patchouli and incense, and an overcrowding of denim clad teenagers. 

Over 40 years on this community still exist and still share their fond memories of Peepers over a private social media page. For a long time, this social media page was the only reference I was able to find of Peepers. Through this social media platform I established a relationship with the community and through interviewing individuals, listening to stories and memories, I devised the live artwork 'Peepers'.

 

Outcomes of this artwork have led to further research and collaboration, and the production of new and future work.

 

This project is not about excavating material truths or artefactual evidence, but to un-pick and re-imagine the potentially romanticised, nostalgic and urban mythology of a collective memory. This process is un-earthing a new body of work and an archive of a cultural scene in Blackburn from over 40 years ago, remembered and re-imagined through memory and imagination of a place in time.

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