Christopher Houghton Budd
Commissioned for Creative Folkestone Triennial 2021
With his artwork Forgiving Light, Christopher Houghton Budd illuminates the potential for new thinking in relation to Folkestone’s historic town centre. His concept takes the form of a circle of light marking the historical centre of the town (at the point where The Old High Street crossed the Pent River over a bridge to the fishing village, so joining the military / religious sector of the town with its economic infrastructure). To underline his narrative, the artist has renamed this area The Plaza – an address now recognised by the Royal Mail.
Christopher Houghton Budd is an economic and monetary historian based in Folkestone, who (in the manner of Joseph Beuys) illustrates his economics lectures and workshops using coloured pastels on black paper – black being the 'colour’ of freedom.
He describes himself as follows:
‘Disruptive of Tunbridge Wells’ perhaps best sums me up as an artist, that being where I grew up. As an economist, I mostly inhabit the ‘quadrant of angels’, where economists position the serendipitous events that do not fit their rational mindset and yet without which economics could not operate. It is there that I escape to write allegorically about economic life. In 2005, I wrote Rare Albion, The Further Adventures of the Wizard from Oz, an allegorical description of a special country (England, no less) where the complexities and vicissitudes of today’s overly financial existence have been resolved. With this year’s Triennial in mind, I have written a sequel – The Story of Folkstown / Rare Albion, Too – which repurposes much of Folkestone and several of its artworks as a way of showing how economics and the policies it gives rise to may yet prove to be anything but dismal.
Forgiving Light is not really my artwork. It was born of the collaboration of many people, often unknown to themselves. But particular mention should be made of Jason Brittin, my co-disruptor, and Paul Kegos, my project manager, whose insights in their different ways made the piece what it is."
Christopher Houghton Budd, Forgiving Light, commissioned for Creative Folkestone Triennial 2021. Photo by Thierry Bal
Film by Oliver Parkin. Drone footage by Tom Bishop Photography