Ruscha Activity 3: High Pedestrian Traffic

The starting point for this is Real Estate Opportunities. In the regeneration of Hunter Street, there remain a large number of empty properties. The book presents these in order. Following Ruscha, the ‘For Lease’ signs are sometimes hard to discern (as in Paul Graham’s Troubled Land series, in which you have to hunt around the mundane Northern Ireland landscape for the signifiers of identity, distinction and difference).

Paul Graham, Untitled, Troubled Land series, 1984-86

In making and organising the work I have thought more about the distinguishing features of the architecture and form of urban development of Newcastle, the intertwining of the built and natural environment and the constraints of my own ‘new topographics’ inflected image-making in exploring this. By ordering the the images according to street number, I have evaded consideration of the rhythm and patterning of images noted in Ruscha’s work by Dziewior (2012). The title comes from the text of one of the ‘For Lease’ signs, paradoxical in the light of the absence (as in Ruscha’s work) of human figures (reflecting the lack of pedestrians in Hunter Street, though there are, as in the LA photographs, cars).


Dziewior, Y. 2012. ‘Reading Ed Ruscha’. In Reading Ed Ruscha, edited by Y. Dziewior and K. Bregenz. Köln: Kunsthaus Bregenz. 18-25.