Junction project aims to stop the traffic as controller boxes in Leeds are turned on by art

By Culture24 Staff | 27 June 2011
A photo of a woman walking past a painted box on a city street
© Roger Moody
Event: Junction, various venues, Leeds, until October 2011

Outside Leeds’ Plaza Hotel, a shocking pink Perspex box hides the electronic circuitry which keeps the rush hour in check.

Alongside the tables and chairs of a Jamie’s Italian restaurant on Park Row, another cube full of wiring has been reimagined as a large pompom hat.

And on South Parade, graphic designer Adrian Riley and text artist John Wedgwood Clarke have devised Houdini in a Box, where a life-size image of a man is squashed into a cylinder in an imitation of the great escape magician trapped in a tank.

A photo of a painted box on a city street
Adrian Riley and John Wedgwood-Clarke, Houdini in a Box (horizontal)
Taking the “dull, grey and unobtrusive” traffic controller boxes throughout the White Rose capital as their targets, experimental project Junction will turn them into quirky urban art, entertaining the public through 3-D photography, marquetry, neon Perspex and even a giant bobble hat as they go about their day.

Part of a public art programme from Leeds Met Gallery and Studio Theatre, it deploys ideas conceived by a dozen creative minds in an enlightened trail running from the station through the core of the city.

“It is an age-old idea, to take something ordinary and make it into something beautiful,” says Moira Innes, the Director at the Gallery and Theatre.

A photo of a woman walking past a painted box on a city street
Invisible Flock, Rear Window© Roger Moody
“We think that by paying some attention to things we all walk or drive past every day, we can brighten our city centre and encourage everyone to think about how the everyday can become extraordinary through the intervention of artists.”

Other highlights include a 360-degree photographic panorama, illusionary motifs, Victorian china cabinets and a film of a woman’s secret life you can watch by downloading a piece of Smartphone software.

Touted as “designer junction boxes”, the plan is the first step of a wider aim to persuade businesses and other groups to sponsor boxes for future instalments of these artistic makeovers.

The silent controllers dictating traffic flow in Leeds are about to become more than mundane.

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