The old conservative party headquarters at 32 Smiths Square is synonymous with Margaret Thatcher smiling and waving gleefully out of the window on the 2nd floor, after winning the elections of 1979/ 83 /87. The building was the home of the Conservative party from1958 to 2003 and thus represents an important period within our political history,
The project is now presented in a book called CHATEAU DESPAIR, published by GOST Books.
The slideshow contains the following parts:
The empty spaces within32 Smiths Squarewere various shades of blue. The building had a notorious reputation for being partly responsible for the demise of the conservative party with its ‘rabbit warren’s style layout, encouraging descent and backstabbing. It is well documented that Michael Howard, during his brief time as a leader, made it a priority to move the Conservative Central Office to an environment more ‘aesthetically pleasing. ’
The images of Margaret Thatcher are parts of discarded ‘snapshots’ taken at a conference after she was prime minister. Found within the building during the ‘clear out’ the photographs had become stuck together and the photographic chemicals had started to ‘eat away’ at her image. Her aura is still very clearly present despite the repetitive and exhaustive nature of presenting an ideal of oneself to the masses and despite the perceived limitations of the photographic medium.
The eerie surfaces and the echo’s of history that reverberates in each blue room, present an individual production and the imagery scene that unfolds, sings to a specific political tune. The objects and ephemera found within each of these spaces represent, in part, the legacy of Thatcherism, a story of her fiscal policy and the encouragement of individualism, materialism and consumerism. From the weights used to hold the curtains in place during the IRA bombings to the deflated ‘In Europe not run by Europe’ balloon, we are encouraged to look closely and reflect on our current political climate.
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