How to make a Dead End… Alive



Following on from one of my previous posts, I concluded with asking the question, How do you make a Dead End.. Alive?

Firstly, I must add that not all Dead Ends are indeed dead. A wall could have a message or a history which in turn creates discussion for example the Berlin wall or the West Bank Barrier. A wall could then be further questioned via hacks such as graffiti, art or a ladder. In 2005, Banksy created a series of graphics on the west bank wall that did just that.

Much of the art he produced on the Wall visually subverts and draws attention to its nature as a barrier by incorporating images of escape — a girl being carried away by a bunch of balloons, a little boy painting a rope ladder.

Other pieces invoke a virtual reality that underlines the negation of humanity that the barrier represents — children in areas cut off from any access to the sea playing with sand buckets and spades on piles of rubble that look like sand, and corners of the wall peeled back to reveal imagined lush landscapes behind.

The walls found in Norton Hammer however are less than historic and so my suggestion came in the form of looking at the word Dead and taking its opposite (Alive) and looking at walls that consist of alive things, mainly Humans.

Human walls are immediately notable acts as they consist of a specific moment in time when a group of people physically connect to create a distinct separation line or shape. Be it for protection or as a political statement, Human walls not only tell one story but a whole host of stories that increases with the number of participants.


Using the map that showed the dead ends I visited, I transformed this into a three-dimensional space that produced a building of only corridors. Each Dead End within the the building is then closed off with an inconspicuous door. Behind each 11 doors is a person or a group of people that block your way from getting to the other side. To allow you to pass they must teach you a skill or tell a story. This communication between you and the human wall unveils and puts colour to a blank wall that would otherwise be avoided.


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