2 Centuries, 13 Years, 3 Months, 12 Days and a Night at Ciao Baby

This installation was held exactly a year after The Story of Little, again in my studio. January 2009. It was a period of transition for myself. My set design career was increasingly not fulfilling me, my agent was about to go bust and I wanted to start expressing myself more as an artist rather than the commercial field I'd been immersed in.

The show began in the future, telling the story of Hackney and its inevitable destruction as the area is overtaken by hoards of city types, hungry for living in 3 metre square chalk white boxes. Scenes were displayed in tiny rooms in my attic and behind walls and up ladders.

"A small group have barricaded themselves into the last artisans space left standing. It is awash with colour and beauty. They huddle and await the authorities, slowly burning the piano for warmth, carefully so as to preserve it's sound for as long as possible..."

"One artisan remains , cowering in a tin shelter in a forgotten corner of Dalston. He scavenges for food by darkness, like a dog he crawls amongst the glass and steel of New London, he fantasises in his desperation of a bullet to end his misery and at last wash the streets of this barren land with the colour red..."

Finally you climbed up a plywood tree before arriving in a very low attic where you had to crawl along a street of small cardboard houses within which small scenes displayed key moments of my life.

"He Danced All Over The World"

Included a globe of the world encased in a mini disco.

"He cast the ring into ocean and voweth ne'er to love again"

The scene in which I'd thrown the ring that Alex had given me, into the ocean in Rio, devastated at his abandonment.

"There was one he loved more than any other but he'd buried it so long he didn't know where or how to find it"

A tiny tomb with a ring of roses sat in a garden of grey ash.

"To protect himself created storms that even the tallest ship or bravest soldier could not pass"

A lighthouse, in a stormy sea, with a ship battling the elements.

"He hid his most precious parts, for fear of rejection"

A small magnifying glass peered into a magical green kingdom, full of prisms and crystal jewels.

"He drank alone in many bars in many countries"

A small chair sat alone amongst a series of signs indicating all the places I'd travelled to, full of hope, to find myself only intensely lonely.

"This was the table where he sat and ate his meals alone, imagining his face in the clouds"

The scene contained a tiny room with a little table and a chair, overlooking a window onto the beach in Rio. The apartment I had rented for Alex and I, who hadn't bothered to turn up at all.

At the end of the attic you found yourself in a small room, where a prostitute lived, pictures of her children by the filthy bed, cheap perfume and make-up strewn everywhere.

"He rented a room in a brothel, in downtown Copacabana. In the evenings he would sit and read. The laughter of the girls preparing for work in the adjoining rooms, would help to magnify yet diffuse his loneliness"

Finally you crawled through a flap and found yourself in a little shack I'd built on the roof, with a small bed and a wood fire. I guess it symbolised my survival and relative peace in which I had found myself at the time.

Pictures by Ralf Obergfell