Over recent years, the derelict and forbidden space of Museum Square has been scoped out by various institutions, authorities and creatives as a site for re-development.
In 2019 I conducted a research project which explored the cultural heritage of Museum Square; un-covering local memories of a subterranean prog-rock nightclub attended by young teenagers in the 1970’s-80’s.
Peepers was a sub-community led nightclub - an outlet and escape for young people of the area. A space to bang heads to rock music, drink pop and burn joss sticks, creating a sub-cultural atmosphere of heavy sound, psychedelic murals, UV lighting, smells of patchouli, and an overcrowding of denim-clad teenagers.
Over 40 years on, a community of people who co-created and attended Peepers still exist through the facilitation of a nostalgic social media page. It is through this social media page that I began my research and excavation by un-picking and re-imagining a collective memory. This led to the delivery of a live artwork in January 2020 which re-united over 80 Peepers veterans and familiarized them with sensory elements and references of Peepers, including a playlist of prog rock music, fluorescent and psychedelic imagery, and rays of UV lighting breaking through clouds of incense. This culmination of sensory references transported the participants back to their youth. A series of photographic imagery archive this transportation.
This new archive is accompanied by new findings - an archive of three images sourced by local artist Mike Waters. These include 2 concept drawings for the original psychedelic murals which Mike installed in Peepers in the early/mid-1970s; as well as a press cutting promoting the nightclub and Mikes murals at the time.
Over 40 years since Peepers vibrated the site of Museum Square; technological advancement and innovation has driven the manifestation of youth culture into the realm of the digital.
During the current era of Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok addiction; 21st Century Psychedelia frames a past-generation of youth culture within modern devices; critiquing modern-day hallucination within contemporary culture.
Christian is a multi-disciplinary artist and recent graduate of the BA Fine Art (hons) course at Blackburn University Centre.
Through his own personal interrogation of socially engaged and place-based research, Christian has developed an ethnographic approach to delivering interventionist contemporary artworks in response to working closely with various communities and collaboratively exploring place, youth and cultural reference.
Christian is currently commissioned by the National Festival of Making and In-Situ Pendle.