We’re five architectural designers, members of a newly formed collaborative group called Ada, working with a composer Adam Donen, and we’ve been given a major square in the middle of London for a day. We are going to fuse architecture with music and performance, and create the first ever dramatic piece with a stage as the lead actor.
The Bloomsbury Fete will be filled with pieces of interactive architecture - there will be see-saws, slides and tables all of which will be used by around 3000 people that will be drawn to the festival. They will all be beautiful and functional, but also built very cunningly so that at lunchtime they can take part in the main performance of Europa. These apparently separate pieces will ‘subsume’ Europa as it happens.
Hugh McEwen, Catrina Stewart, Freddy Tuppen,Kevin Greenand Omar Ghazalare founding members of Ada, a Bloomsbury-based collective of professional artists and architectural designers who work together to create spectacles of forward-looking architecture. Ada believe that by combining individuals who are the best in their field from different disciplines, the most aesthetic and intellectually stimulating results can be achieved. Since early 2012 the collective has been working closely with local organisations to produce interactive architectural pieces.
Tim Phillips has an investigative practice ranging from the sculptural to the digital. Ethereal symbols of belief, authority and worship are woven into objects layered in precious veneers, plastics and other synthetics. It is these technologies that the artist uses to investigate the strange democracy afforded to us by the machine. ‘We can telescope time and space, hop between the holy and the occult, fuse craft and corporation, the precious to the throwaway, all in the click of a mouse button.’
This gives the work a sense of mythology, one that it does not deserve, because of the vacuous geometry that constitutes its parts. But through the process of cutting, veneering and inlay, we cannot help but buy into the idea of nothing. As such, the work sits in a limbo state between religious fakery and authenticity.
James Ireland’s work references signs of an idealised landscape: sunsets, blue skies, untainted faraway lands, a lone tree or organic patterns such as twigs and crystal formations. However, the works are situated firmly within our cultivated world, where the romantic view of landscape is yet another product. By meticulously arranging simple, easily recognizable domestic and mass produced objects, such as lights, plastic bags, mirrors, book pages, steel components and concrete blocks into assemblages and installations, the epic is created out of very little, providing brief glimpses of perfect idyllic views. Whilst refusing a coherent representational concept of landscape, Ireland is deeply engaged with representation and the mass of culture that defines it, ‘the work is about how the world we do live in produces a desire for a world we don’t live in’, he explains.
Come along to the opening of the Group 41 Exhibition: ‘Vessels’
10-12 Exhibition Road South Kensington London SW7 2HF
The group of 41 presents a PRIVATE VIEW of designs and prototypes for an experimental range of vases, flowerpots and other vessels. The exhibition also marks a first exploration of our temporary new underground space on Exhibition Road. Refreshments will be available. From 7 pm.
Queen Anne’s Alcove by Christopher Wren.Queen Anne’s coat of arms appear just below the roof, and it was built in 1705 to replace a summerhouse by his rival William Talman. Designed for the boundary of Queen Anne’s formal garden at Kensington Palace, it sits at the end of the Italian Gardens between Marlborough Gate and Buckhill Lodge. It became a sleeping area for ‘undesirable personages’ and in 1867 Mr. Cowley, a builder offered to move it at his own expense.
These are Anthropological Urbanism’s top 12 picks for this weekend’s This is Not a Gateway festival at the Bishopsgate Institute, in no particular order…
Full programme http://thisisnotagateway.squarespace.com/2013-programme/
Olympic Dreams // POST OLYMPICS
Simon Ball, audio Zai Tang
Consisting of over 7500 individually photographed still frames, Olympic Dreams questions the nature of the dominant line surrounding London’s Olympic Park. This line has come to represent a border between the Olympic elite and local residents, who are pushed away from a movement that claims to embody inclusion and community. The film questions these values by revealing the imposing nature of the fence alongside images that constitute the Olympic edge-lands, taking the viewer into a space that is free from the utilitarian connotations of the fence.
Rethinking Acts of Citizenship through Burning Cars and Concrete // INSURRECTIONS, RIOTS AND REVOLUTIONS
Images of young people burning cars in urban peripheries often bring French banlieues in 2005 to mind, when thousands of cars were set on fire during a period of three weeks. However, this trend has become quite common in urban peripheries across Europe. This presentation aims to take burning cars in the peripheries of Gothenburg, Sweden, in the late summer of 2009, as an entry point to rethink the notion of acts of citizenship.
Slavery and the City: An Urban Exploration // FINANCIAL DISTRICTS
Kate Donington, Nick Draper
To what extent was the City of London complicit in the system of slavery? What forms of power – commercial, political, cultural and beyond – did City slave owners wield? How has this shaped the physicality of the City? Drawing on the 1838 Slave Compensation Registers which were created to manage the payment of compensation to slave-owners on the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean, Mauritius and the Cape of Good Hope, researchers from UCL will discuss who benefited financially from slavery, and examine the contemporary legacies of slave-ownership in the City.
Artists Behind the Wall: Regeneration Games in Olympic East London // POST OLYMPICS
Sarah Scarsbrook, Simon Cole (Hackney Tours)
A discussion about urban regeneration, gentrification and the creative economy. How has the artist community in Hackney Wick formed a major part of the Olympic led regeneration in the area? With the knowledge that artist communities actively aid the gentrification of run down areas in cities, should artists take more responsibility over the areas they move into today?
Property Guardianship - A Critical Overview // LEGALITIES OF SPACE
Property guardianship, ‘anti-squatting’ or ‘protection by occupation’, is a growing addition to an increasingly fragmented UK housing sector. The rise in property guardianship (for which one must both pay, and render services) coincides with legal curbs on squatting in the UK. It has been marketed as the ‘acceptable’ form of squatting, and a way of preventing the ‘unacceptable’ type. However, is the main function of property guardianship to preserve the value of private property? Is this about the management of space rather than the provision of secure and democratically-available housing?
Creating Subjects: A Study of a Private City // LEGALITIES OF SPACE
A study of ‘private cities’ in India, where corporate entities take on the role of the State in the arena of urban governance, and subsequently disenfranchise local populations. The discussion will explore the legal processes that were utilised by the State and corporate houses to create private cities; how a private city functions; how do private cities affect the role and status of citizenship witin the larger built environment and; how is the changed ethos of citizenship connected to the changes within the larger political economy of India?
Controlling chaos: formal informality in Berlin // URBAN INDUSTRY
Jana Perkovic, Georg Hubmann
Governments bend rules for big capital everywhere: no news there. But what to make of the support the city of Berlin is showing to micro-entrepreneurs and local initiatives, incorporating ‘temporary uses’ into large redevelopment projects, even orchestrating informal occupation of space? The city has embraced its subculture for the purposes of image-building, and attracting ‘real’ capital. Is this creative resistance or co-opting? A discussion about social movements, the planning framework, and the contradictory policy of city institutions.
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Bankers But Were Too Angry To Ask // FINANCIAL DISTRICTS
Since 2010 anthropologist Joris Luyendijk has been embedded in London’s three main financial districts. His mission has been to reveal the everyday culture of the ‘world of finance’ in his powerful ‘Banking Blog’ on the Guardian’s website. He invites festival-goers to a critical conversation about the lives, motivations, hopes and fears of those that work in these centres as told to him.
Recording community history, strengthening collective memory. The artist as archivist of grassroots struggles in the post-industrial city // URBAN INDUSTRY
Tayrn Edmonds, Laura Maragoudaki, Julie Ballands (Archive for Change)
What is the importance of grassroots testimonies of urban change in developing critical perspectives on planning and regeneration? What is the importance of collective memory in encouraging future resistance and change within city environments? How is ‘community’ defined by different urban players and what is the affect of this? What are the inherent complexities around issues of representation and interpretation in the artist’s role, and exploring how artist initiatives can be integrated in community infrastructure- how can we really be grassroots?
‘What the eye doesn’t see’: How urban design has impacted identity, community and nationalism in Istanbul // CITY MEANS INEQUALITY
Atakan Guven, Omer Cavusoglu
Turkey continues with a deeply centralised urban planning model. Urban policies are dictated by economic growth, earthquake mitigation and aspirations to become a key figure in the region. Such declarative planning activities have been instigated by figures of political power, who invite financial investment with architectural brand names. Is this the right direction for a city, spoiled with impressive urban geology and obscured socio-cultural memory? What did we get here and why are we witnessing community displacement?
States of Exception in Olympic Cities // POST OLYMPICS
Are mega events such as the Olympic Games and the World Cup ‘Trojan horses’ making use of elite athletes in the pursuit of corpo-government interests? Are these temporary globalised events the spearheads for enduring cultural and legal transformations that go beyond the wildest neo-liberalist ambitions in everyday circumstances? How can citizens of cities that might hold future globalising-mega-events, resist these brazen, dazzling and relentless attempts at denuding them of their rights, land and money?
Re-imagining Urban Addis Ababa // CITY MEANS INEQUALITY
Clara Rivas Alonso
How is the neoliberal model of urban spatial organisation or class cleansing globalized adapting itself to the idiosyncratic features of the localities where it is implemented? In Amharic the word used for development is the same word for control. In Addis Ababa this could also mean the disappearance of public space. Do those implementing this model share the same interest in concealing the democratic potential of public space? A discussion about how neoliberal strategies of urban development are being deployed in this very young city.
Matthew Houlding’s uninhabited hotel is the perfect setting for an African The Shining. His current exhibition at the Ceri Hand Gallery is based on and inspired by the now demolished Oceanic Hotel in Mombassa, Kenya – a beautiful Le Corbusier-style modernist building decorated with a vibrant palette of blues, yellows and red.
Houlding’s sculptures and collages draw us into a fantastic, retro-futuristic world, inspired by architectural forms and models, modernism and a childhood spent in East Africa. Houlding’s recent sculptures and collages are an homage to the utopian zeal of modern architecture. Drawing on Structuralist and Formalist ideas of architectural design and the relationships between intersecting materials and planes, contrasting geometry is framed by bold, primary coloured Perspex, which casts a Californian sunny glow over split level condo-like exteriors and interiors.The severe and forbidding geometry of his little houses is balanced by an air of almost utopian hedonism and luxury. The work is made all the more strong by the artist’s reluctance to admit whether these are desirable or dreadful properties.