Text in art

Sunday bus journey

I used a bus journey from a housing estate on the edge of Oxford into the city centre. This is what I jotted down as the journey progressed
Tower block
Bare trees
Queue for bus
Cold
Getting warmer on bus
Police van
Three Police people on bicycles
Mud and standing water where cars have been parked on grass
Many houses close together
Sunday football match
Dual carriageway
Houses painted in different colours
Flats with blue garages
Big crane in the distance
Houses with front gardens
Wheelie bins
Gates
New building with charity shop
Apartments with white stone façade and black railings
Busy bus stop Orange van
Girl in bright yellow coat
Bare saplings
Orange office block with ‘For sale/let’ sign
Graffiti on boarding around old filling station
Scaffolding with plastic sheeting
Church tower with clock
New flats behind old stone wall
Terraced houses close to the road
Place of worship that used to be a pub
Playing field with council depot
Skip full of earth
An old fridge
Satellite dishes
Blue plaque on building
Two people in dark coats
Tattoo parlour
Guitar shop
Drinks can in gutter
Cycle shed
‘To let’ signs
Pigeons on roof
Green bauble over porch
Abandoned bowls green
More people in dark coats
Bicycles
Silver surfer
Rubbish bags on pavement
Green space with children’s playground
Open meter cupboard
Shops
Abandoned telephone boxes
Coffee shop & restaurant
Charity shops
Buildings with painted artwork
Posters on walls and stickers on lamp posts
Church with strange tower and dark windows
Multi-coloured tables outside pub
Man smoking outside shop
Roundabout with trees in the middle
Bridge over field and river
Gargoyles or grotesques
Old stone buildings
Statue in tower on top of building
Tourists
Wide road
Big wooden door
Church with tall tower
Ornate windows
Indoor market
Clock on church tower

Apart from the early stages I am already very familiar with this journey by bus, and even the early stages are not totally unfamiliar. Although Oxford is mainly known for the university, more people live here because of the car factory that the university. The split between these two worlds is always there and the bus journey itself perfectly aligns with moving from one world to the other. The beginning is in a housing estate built in the 1960s in close proximity to the car factory. As the journey progresses we move past older areas but still associated more with working class life than higher education, then through a more bohemian world and finally into the world of both academia and tourism.
There are definite dividing lines between these areas;
Dual carriageway
Bridge over field and river

I would explore using different fonts and maybe colours to describe these items on either side of these divides. A homely font for the beginning, something a bit more modern in the middle (Calibri perhaps), and then something quite formal (e.g. Times New Roman) for the final section .

Choosing 12 – 24 from this list to illustrate would not be too hard. I would probably look again to Richard Long’s work as a basis for adding text. I’m particularly taken with the modest nature of his captions. These also seem to fit better with the idea of a set of photographs. Mark Titchener’s work is impressive as single images but it might be too much across a set. I feel the same way about Barbara Kruger’s approach. It would be interesting to still see about placing text across the images though, rather than just having separate captions like Richard Long does in “A Walk Across England”

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