Car Wash Cultures

Art agency Buddleia invited me to carry out artist research in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester.


The Car Wash, a late twentieth century phenomenon is a modern day production line; low paid factory work that attracts migrant workers. Just as in the 19th century Cheetham Hill was a centre of Industrial production attaracting workers from the countryside and abroad, Car Washes in born-again petrol station sites (that speak of once many small businesses being swallowed by the big petrol corporations) offer the car owner a way to maintain their vehicle - itself a fetishised luxury commodity. The owner enters the production line and only the sliver of glass separated their life and that of the car wash worker.


This work involved interviews with car wash workers about their work and their lives that could be given away to drivers on a CD to listen to in the car.


My other line of research was The Secret Garden, writen by Frances Hodgson Barnett who was born in Cheetham Hill. She later became a follower of theosophy and her book explores the healing possibilities of nature. I explored the secret green spaces through walks, photography and sketch groups with local residents.




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