In her series Nummianus Klenz is interested in the critical exploration of displacement and the collapse of a sense of rootedness regarding the notion of place.
Locating her photographs in the Greater Manchester area, she discovered entire estates of empty terraced houses that have been boarded-up. These estates are beginning to wear what can be perceived as the scars of a national trend in the North-West regions of England. The exodus of residents has culminated in the value of the properties decreasing to a minimal amount, now worth a fraction of their purchase price. Unable to sell their homes, some inhabitants are forced to remain in this area – a community’s remnants subjected to a downward spiral of social exclusion.
In her photographs, Klenz highlights the red-coloured facades of the houses making a deliberate reference to the colour of Pompeii-red, the colour painted on the walls of the houses of the excavated city, signalling a sign of wealth. Critically intended, her series comments on the former wealth, diversity and livelihood through the reference of Pompeii and forms a memorial to housing and to history, to community and to memory. Nummianus creates a reference both to the fragility and resilience of life, specifically since these abandoned estates are to be demolished in the future, disappearing as did Pompeii’s name and location became forgotten.
Klenz engages through the method of repetition and sequence with the idea of decentring the viewer. The viewer is forced to encounter not only the outmoded and marginalised space of these estates but also engage with the history of each individual house.
Nummianus refers to an inscription found on the floor of the Siricio house in Pompeii, showing a trading company owned by the two partners Siricio and Nummianus. The name can be translated as coin (money) and enhances Klenz’ deliberate duality of the title as a reference to Pompeii as well as discussing these estates as a commodity with most houses worth a fraction of their former market price.