As you head down Cathcart Road into town from my flat, you pass an amazing church by Alexander “Greek” Thomson, derelict and crumbing. Walking along Clyde Street along the banks of the river just past the Briggait you walk under the railway bridge and see two small plinths coming out of the wall with nothing on them. On Dumbarton Road, close to the bottom of Byres Road, you can see a grand Glasgow University building with three niches on one side, standing empty.
One of the things I tend to notice when walking around a city is the spaces which were once used and are now empty, shut off and lonely. Glasgow has a lot of them – from the church in the Gorbals to the derelict areas around the M8, to the empty niches on the sides of churches.
I’ve always wondered where these niches come from, whether they were built with the hope that they would one day be filled, whether there was originally a sculpture in there which was broken, or whether there was to be something installed but money ran out or an argument with the sculptor. Was it just that a grand building should have niches, even if they are empty?
There is something about unused space, a sadness, a missed opportunity and a sense of possibility that excites me, and I’ve been longing to do a project which uses these spaces. I want to do something to them to help them catch the eye of people who normally walk past them unoticed.