Cornford and Cross
Vanishing Point 2001

Proposal for The Lowry Arts Centre, Salford, England


We were invited by the Lowry Arts Centre to make a new work that would explore connections between the history and future of Salford Quays, an area of the city that was being redeveloped after decades of economic decline.

The public space around the Centre seemed unresolved in its surface and boundary. Rubble from demolition of the industrial buildings appeared to have been used to build a causeway, cutting off the final section of the Manchester Ship Canal nearby.

We proposed arranging for a short section of tram line to be designed, engineered and laid-in along the causeway. Rather than ostentatiously imposing on its surroundings, our proposed sculpture would be discreetly embedded in the ground, where it could exist quietly as an optimistic beginning, a new physical and conceptual connection between The Lowry and the city it serves. Offering an unfinished narrative for the viewer to complete, Vanishing Point could then serve as a starting point for more equivocal reflection on movement and stasis, continuity and discontinuity.

The title Vanishing Point refers to the perspective of visual representation. It is also the title of a nihilistic road movie directed by Richard C Sarafian in 1971, in which Barry Newman plays a fugitive who draws his pursuers into a situation where it seems that freedom is only to be reached through self-destruction.