Evelina Mansions, originally established as the Four Per Cent Dwellings Company in 1885, must have been a familiar building to CADE situated as it is in his regular haunt of Camberwell. The building itself is not terribly noteworthy – just one of many Victorian efforts in the area built to alleviate the living conditions of the extremely poor – albeit something piqued CADE’s interest enough to make an uncharacteristically thorough study of this individual building. Whether it was the angle of the building as he approached that suggested to him a tangent of sorts, or whether he saw something through one of the many windows yawning out into the abyss of Camberwell Church Street, CADE gained a relatively easy entrance via the main lobby through a door propped open with someone’s head.
The series of small vignettes presented here, documented on the 21st October, demonstrate the characteristic interleaving of fictions bound up within mundane spaces which has marked CADE’s research from the outset. Whether it is the appearance of a red brick wall in the cold air, illuminated by an orange street lamp which suggests an angle for this particular fiction to lead, or whether there are already fictions lying dormant in these spaces, waiting patiently to become facts when people inadvertently act them out, is a question for the viewer alone. What is certain though is that these vignettes translate the geometry of narratives into intimate, discreet packets, chambers defining the mystery attraction of Evelina Mansions, SE5.
One character of note in the following sequences is defined entirely through her absence: Mrs J Fairfax of flat number 21a, local councillor for the Brunswick Park ward and self-appointed head of the Residents’ Association. Fairfax had temporarily seized posession of a neighbouring resident's apartment, the former head of the Resident's Association, (who was most likely the man whose head was keeping the door ajar,) and set up a new administrative department in it; the Denouncement Office.
Unfortunately, Mrs Fairfax was personally unavailable for interview, her flat being guarded by the front and rear entrances.