n December 2009 I bought a house on the edge of a cliff at Cayton Bay, near Scarborough North Yorkshire. This house became known as the House Project, a site-specific work of art that received worldwide attention. An incredible personal journey it was a story that involved the global media, the residents of Knipe Point, McCain’s, Yorkshire water, A Nigerian performance artist, a Last Supper, the Last Post, the BBC world Service, Tate Britain and an art theft. The House was demolished in 2013 due to pressure from the local council and a demolition order. This event became a media circus and a chance to highlight concerns over the environment, bedroom tax, health, education and banking. The House Project is in the process of being archived at the Hull History Centre. All the material will be accessible for re-use, artistic appropriation, education and academic research.
Kane Cunningham. Landscape artist Kane Cunningham has used his credit card to buy a house that is about to fall into the sea. A bungalow at Knipe Point in Scarborough, North Yorkshire - near the scene of the infamous Holbeck Hotel cliff collapse 16 years ago has been condemned after a fresh landslip. Cunningham states: 'I've bought a house that will be the next one to fall over the cliff. It feels like I have no choice. I'm going to rig the house with cameras and film the last sunrise before nature claims its bounty'. 'It's the perfect site-specific installation - a stark reminder of lost dreams, financial disaster and threatening sea levels. It's global recession and global warming encapsulated. This little house is feet away from the edge of the cliff - it can go at any moment. The idea is to create an artwork on a scale never been seen before in North Yorkshire and to stimulate within the imagination of the public the idea that this house falling into the sea can become a work of art. If the aim of art is to stimulate discussion and debate on issues, then surely this will get people talking.' Cunningham best known for his landscape paintings said 'My work has always been about understanding the social and political context of landscape; the house is just a development of these ideas'. Cunningham who bought the house on his credit card for £3,000 said, 'the house was worth over £150,000 two years ago, now it is worth just a fraction of the original price. The purchase of this house on my credit card is a deliberate financial transaction suggesting the link to credit, subprime mortgages, property ownership, debt, loans, the financial markets, property speculation, boom and bust'. One idea, which has emerged recently as a consequence of the work, is to invite people to send me letters on any subject. These will be pinned to a wall as part of the artwork, then destroyed as the house disappears. So who knows what they may contain! This is called the'Last Post', as the address will one day cease to exist and so it's a rare opportunity to participate in an original and unique work of art. Finally 'The House' in many ways epitomises the decade, of unprecedented greed, of lies and deceit, the art market, credit debt, war and conflict across the world. It's a symbol that can be interpretive in many ways. The timing of the press release is deliberate, just after Copenhagen and just before Christmas when all focus is on the home, when families come together and when we all reflect upon things we feel are important. Just after Christmas we will have a webcam to see the sunrise and possible destruction of the house as it goes over the cliff, so please visit the site again to see new work being produced as I go along. To include video, digital photographs, paintings, prints, sculptures and site specific work within the house as I physically deconstruct the building over the next few weeks. Artists from across all disciplines can contact me to discuss the project, though I am particularly interested in new exciting ideas and possibilities from anyone with a big idea.
As an artist you hope to develop a critical eye. This critical eye observes and composes the formal elements related to composition, however underpinning the image there should be something that holds your attention, perhaps something personal beyond the obvious and symbolic. Roland Barthes describes this as the ‘Studium’ and the ‘Punctum’ or that which pierces the viewer. Therefore my photography is simply another tool in my armoury as an artist, either to record events, to capture moments, as an aide memoir or as a work of art.
Kane Cunningham. Photography.
From the beginning of our exploration activities we have always committed to conducting ourselves with the highest of ethical and environmental standards. During our exploration programme this meant committing to restoring all of our sites to the same or an improved condition – something that we are well on the way to achieving. But our commitment goes much further – to adopting a Zero Harm philosophy throughout the culture of the Company. This means not only in terms of physical safety but also avoiding damage to the environment. We are striving to achieve long term sustainable development and want to respect and make a positive difference to the local community and the environment we live in. As our Project develops and matures our list of commitments will increase and be published here. Our success as part of the community can be judged against achieving these commitments or otherwise. If you want to tell us what you think, then please feel free to get in touch. Jobs By Phase 2 we will create over 1,000 long-term, skilled jobs. We will strive to ensure that at least 80% of our workforce will be employed from the local area and have developed a skills strategy to help us achieve this. We will work with Local Enterprise Partnership, councils and business networks to develop a supply chain engagement strategy to maximise opportunities in the local supply chain. Environment We are committed to responsible environmental management and to minimising the impact of the proposals at all times. The Project design will set new standards for sensitive development. Community We will support community projects through a community fund that shares project revenue worth millions of pounds every year. Traffic We will take measures to ensure that our routine site traffic does not ‘rat run’ on unsuitable local roads and will take action against those that do not adhere to this policy. We will use Park and Ride facilities to reduce traffic movements to our mine site. Consultation We have conducted full and transparent pre-application consultation in advance of key planning submissions.
The Last Supper has many connotations but also a metaphor for life, death and betrayal. Artists over the centuries have explored the meaning and ideas of the Last Supper such as Leononardo Da Vinci, Raphael and Andy Warhol. The House’ is the ‘host’ for the event, for it encapsulates many of our desires, our hopes, dreams and our ambitions. However it also represents many of our failings as a society and so offers itself as a starting point for the discussion, to reflect upon what The House means to the individual guests but also what it means to the wider society across the world.
The Last Supper.
Artist to embed personal stories into York City Wall. York Stories is a community art project and part of the York 800 celebrations. The City of York Council is encouraging residents, businesses and visitors to tell and share stories that are personal and unique to the city of York. Kane Cunningham said, “ This is a unique project. The idea is to create a social sculpture, to embed all the stories into the city wall as a work of art. The stories will also be accessed through QR codes displayed along the wall, so people can access the stories where they stand.” A York Story could be about childhood, school, work, friends, family, social life or something of personal interest. It could be about an event such as a festival, or a sporting or community event, which reflects people’s personal experience as long as York is at the heart of the story. Kane Cunningham said, “There are many ways in which to tell a York Story. It can be through words, music, voice, audio, digital media, video, poetry, letters, lyrics in a song, a play, a blog or even a tweet can be used. Cunningham said, “ its about communication, social interaction and about people talking and listening to each other. It is about human relations, social encounters, situations, events, happenings and social contexts. It is about people and personal contact in the physical world.” The stories will also go towards a media collection for the city archives and added to a time capsule, which is planned for the new city council offices. Cunningham who is best known for buying a house on the edge of a cliff to create an art installation said, “ The House Project is about connecting people worldwide, this project simply takes the same ideas to another level of social interaction but on a much bigger scale.” To submit a story and for details visit www.yorkstories2012.com
York Stories. Kane Cunningham.
Painting on the North Yorkshire Moors.
Painting on the North Yorkshire Moors.
In December 2009 I bought a house on the edge of a cliff at Cayton Bay, near Scarborough North Yorkshire. This house became known as the House Project, a site-specific work of art that received worldwide attention. An incredible personal journey it was a story that involved the global media, the residents of Knipe Point, McCain’s, Yorkshire water, A Nigerian performance artist, a Last Supper, the Last Post, the BBC world Service, Tate Britain and an art theft. The House was demolished in 2013 due to pressure from the local council and a demolition order. This event became a media circus and a chance to highlight concerns over the environment, bedroom tax, health, education and banking. The House Project is in the process of being archived at the Hull History Centre. All the material will be accessible for re-use, artistic appropriation, education and academic research.
The House Demolition..
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Scarborough, United Kingdom
I love. Painting. Art. Photography. Coffee.
Kane Cunningham was born in Manchester in 1961. He went to Unsworth Comprehensive School in Bury, Rochdale School of Art and Leeds Metropolitan University. He has been an artist since 1982 and has exhibited his artwork in galleries across the UK. He is married and has two sons Dale and Ben. Kane has been teaching since 1982 and is presently a lecturer in Fine Art in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.