Nail Salon Belt
Location: Installation at Danielle Arnaud contemporary art
Richard is creating an installation documenting his research into the theory
of the Nail Salon Belt. The theory states that at a certain distance
from central London, running the length of the border between the 0207 and the
0208 telephone codes, a much higher than average number of nail salons exist.
Richard will present a film showing his progress on the famous walk around the
0207 and 0208 border when the data which lead to his groundbreaking theory was
collected. The results will be displayed as a wall-based diagram of the Nail
Salon Belt and a text-based report of findings.
images from the Nail Salon Belt walk
In 2001 I began a walk around the border of the 020 7 inner-London
and 020 8 outer-London telephone code areas. I ascertained my route by noting
the telephone numbers on shop signs, in phone boxes and by knocking on people’s
doors. I noticed a higher than average concentration of Nail Salons along
the route, and although my walk remains incomplete – partially due to
the writer Iain Sinclair stealing my thunder by walking round the M25 –
I have developed a theory that, at a certain radius from the centre of London,
a Nail Salon Belt exists.
In the same way that the Van Allen Belts – bands of ionised gas surrounding
the Earth – protect our planet from harmful radiation, I hypothesise
that the Nail Salon Belt is all that prevents my hometown of Watford
from getting sucked into the urban sprawl of London. However, concerns exist
that the high frequency of Nail Salons on the border of 020 7 / 020 8 are
economically unsustainable, and that erosion of the Nail Salon Belt
is inevitable. The recent reclassification of Watford Station by London Underground
from ‘Zone 6b’ to ‘Zone 6a’ seems to suggest that
such damage could already be affecting London’s pull on Watford.
Urgent data must be collected to prevent imminent disaster. Hence for Day-to-Day
Data I propose a comprehensive survey of the Nail Salon Belt…
Initially, my intention was to collaborate with a programmer to develop an
automated ‘bot’ to trawl business directory data held on www.yell.com,
and combine it with the mapping power of www.streetmap.co.uk
to generate automated Nail Salon Belt data which could then be streamed
in real-time into the gallery space. However, for logistical reasons, data
will instead be manually gathered and displayed using some little flags, a
big map, and a copy of the Yellow Pages.
Nail Salon Belt is the first project I have
undertaken which combines geographical mapping and cause and effect. Previous
works include successfully disproving Chaos Theory by dressing up as a butterfly
in New York, and a failed attempt to turn back time in Central London by travelling
anticlockwise on the Circle Line for 43 hours. I’m currently undertaking
a study into the feasibility of blowing up the moon.