Published  02/08/2021
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Christopher Houghton Budd – interview: ‘What’s needed here is a high street all the way from the town hall to the lighthouse, without interruption, for pedestrians’

Christopher Houghton Budd – interview: ‘What’s needed here is a high street all the way from the town hall to the lighthouse, without interruption, for pedestrians’

Economist-turned-artist Houghton Budd, who moved to Folkestone seven years ago, has created a most effective artwork to illustrate his point for the 2021 triennial. He talks with Studio International about his journey towards the creation of Forgiving Light, as well as who might want to be forgiven and why

The confluence of the ring road, the old high street and the harbour front (and, though we can no longer see it, an ancient crossing of the river Pent that used to be here) makes this the natural centre of Folkestone, according to Christopher Houghton Budd (b1948, England).

Called Forgiving Light, it comprises 12 freestanding vertical structures, their conical, red-painted bottoms filled with water to ground and stabilise them, and their slim, white grille-clad tops activated as lights after dusk. They are arranged in a circle to represent the natural heart of the town. Ultimately, Houghton Budd would like this to become a public plaza – which, as one of the few public spaces still in public ownership in Folkestone, it could be, should the council so decide.



Christopher Houghton Budd, Forgiving Light. Folkestone Triennial 2021. Photo: Martin Kennedy.

Houghton Budd is clearly emotionally as well as financially invested in Folkestone. He has joined forces with Folkestone artist Diane Dever (b1974, Ireland) in the Urban Room Folkestone project, a gallery and workshop space for community engagement, as well as setting up a small gallery in the town and making his home on the charmingly steep Old High Street, where most of the barnacle-like housing and shops has, over the years, been bought, restored and repurposed by Creative Folkestone for independent businesses, artist studios and live/work spaces. Here, he talks with Studio International about his journey towards the creation of Forgiving Light, as well as who might want to be forgiven and why.



Christopher Houghton Budd, Forgiving Light. Folkestone Triennial 2021. Photo: Martin Kennedy.

Folkestone Triennial 2021, various venues, Folkestone
22 July – 2 November 2021

Interview by VERONICA SIMPSON
Filmed by MARTIN KENNEDY

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