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CRITIC'S CHOICE

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REVIEW

AJ 08.02.07 featured a spread on Hawkins\Brown's proposed new civic and cultural building in Corby, dubbed the 'Corby Cube'. All very nice, no doubt, but in the promotional image the building could be anywhere: it's a tabula rasa vision, with no trace of the existing town. Admittedly, even for a New Town, Corby has not had a good press: 'It took a long time for anything like an urban character to develop on the site, ' was Pevsner's dry remark in his 1973 volume on Northamptonshire.

It's timely, then, that as Corby looks forward to 'regeneration' - the Hawkins\Brown scheme is just one in prospect - an exhibition of photographs by James Smith, entitled Alter, presents a partial portrait of the town today (see above). One of his subjects is the Development Corporation's late-1960s housing in Lincoln Way, which drew modest praise from Pevsner: 'a sense of momentum so often absent in lowrise suburban housing. . . plenty of variety on a small scale'.

But socially it does not seem to have worked and properties there are being bulldozed. Meanwhile, in Smith's wintry photographs, the fog rolls in - these certainly aren't scenes from a promotional brochure. They are at Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, Brigstock, from 1 March - 15 April ( www. fermynwoods. co. uk).

This exploration of place continues further east in Waterlog: a group show at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery until 15 April (with some exhibits at the Sainsbury Centre until 24 June). It's devoted to the landscape of East Anglia, and supposedly inspired by W G Sebald's The Rings of Saturn - surely one of the most memorable if melancholy evocations of place in recent literature. Featured artists include Tacita Dean and Alec Finlay, both with good track records for this kind of project ( www. waterlog. fvu. co. uk).

From 5 March - 7 May, place is also the theme at Glasgow's The Lighthouse, with Sadness and Gladness - a season of short films made by the Glasgow Corporation between 1920 and 1978. With titles such as Glasgow Our City and If Only We Had The Space, they promise a vivid picture of the city's changing fortunes ( www. thelighthouse. co. uk).

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