Museum of the Moment

An audio guide

April 2- May 3 2009

The Museum of the Moment is an Mp3 audio walk through Cardiff's Victorian and Edwardian Arcades and across the cities under - development Hayes area. Each Mp3' track consisted of a collage of clips and recordings which bought voices from Cardiff life into converstion with each other through their juxtposition. Each track related to a specific loaction in the city (walkers were given a map), and sought to work as an in-situe documentary of that place ~ a 3D Documentary, which invited people to engage with a place through its 'soundtrack'.

You can play the first 3 of 11 tracks here.

I created these documentaries during a research period when I interviewed a range of people from historians, architects, shop keepers, shoppers, people involved in the infrastructure of the arcades, town planners, council workers and the developers of the SD2 shopping centre. The peice sought to mediate concepts of the past and the future through the prism of the present, inviting viewers to see all activity unfolding in- front of them as if experiencing a museum collection. Looking at the city through its small moments, its everyday life and through its collective thoughts, ideas, reflections, gossip. These are, after all, the things which construct day-to-day life and make places meaningful.

The Museum of the Moment does not seek tell a 'story' of a place, instead it invited people to connect with a collage of possibilities, a series of histories, moments in time ranging from the construction of the cities medieval burgage plots, along which the existing arcades are built, to the story of individual shops or reflections on the recent past.

Walkers listened to fragments of conversations or interlinked monologues which invited them to first of all re-look at the city and secondly to re-look at their perception of history; the story of a place in relation to time.

This piece has been made during a period, or moment, of great change in Cardiff, through the building of the SD2 shopping centre and also a time of great change globally. When I began recording interviews with people in July 2008 the idea of a recession seemed a distant possibility. However by the time I had finished recording in March 2009 it seemed that everyhting had changed. The issues around globalisation, the environment, the new shopping centre, consumption had all been turned upside down and, as such, the audio walk is also a document of this period.

What is history after all but mediated memories of our moment by moment experience?


Read A review by Adam Sharr published in Architects Journal:

Ben Jones took the walk and wrote ....."I attempted to complete the museum of the moment over two separate sunday afternoons (One of which was the final day AND when the indoor market was irritatingly, closed). I loved it but was so gutted with how long it was. I sat in Madam Fromage for a whole hour nursing a incredibly garlic lasagna listening to the oh so interesting stories.

I love the project, I love the way you have become a substitute for community, or maybe your just filling the shoes of the old beirdd or troubadour, a gel between people, I feel asthough i can go to Cafe Minuet and talk to him about his stories. What kills me is the transience of it . You've got to let me get my hands on the recordings so that i can walk at my own time to the narrative, all i kept on thinking was how will my children hear the stories>? I love the idea of the city being alive, and looking above and beyond the placards of the shops or underneath the road, I love the idea of the river disappearing under our feet...."


Transcripts of this peice and Cd's of the audio will be published in a book called "Depending On Time" in October 2009.


This peice was developed in recipt of a Heritage Lottery Grant and manged by Safle it was also funded in part by the SD2 Development.



Photo's Sam Perry.