Paradise Lost: History in the Un-Making
(dir: Andy Howlett, UK 2016, 50 mins)
Filmmaker and wanderer Andy Howlett presents a work-in-progress investigation into the untimely demise of John Madin’s Central Library. In this free-form video essay, Andy uses exploratory walking as a means to interrogate the built environment, teasing out the forgotten narratives and faded dreams embedded in the Brutalist architecture in an attempt to work out what went wrong with yesterday’s future.
When Andy first set out 3 years ago to examine and document the decaying concrete environs of Paradise Circus he had no idea of the rabbit hole that he was stumbling into. On his journey he has encountered concrete fanatics, urban explorers, activists, archivists, former library workers and other denizens of the Paradise that wasn’t. The resulting interviews and explorations form a patchwork archaeology of the recent past, a past that the city is doing its utmost to bury as it continues its relentless programme of “concrete cleansing” in a drive to eradicate all traces of post-war architecture from the city centre.
As he continues to fall deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, Andy presents his findings so far in the hopes that this will help him begin to make sense of this whole saga.