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May 2019

 

From 2003!

Documentation of a presentation of Capital (2001), recalling some of the the research and evolution of the project. Capital was a series of encounters between two iconic institutions - the Tate and the Bank of England - and the economies of debt and gift that they animate.....

 

So, I'm slowly learning to live with less, and experimenting with how to consume fewer resources. As part of these processes I'm making some of the things I might need or want, not in any dogmatic 'alt-right preppers' kind of way - I'm not about to be refining ore and forging weapons. Principally I'm trying to be more conscious of what might make life joyful, but not at the expense of others. Sharing what I've learnt is also important.

I'm finding that I'm making spaces, furniture and things, mostly inspired by Enzo Mari and the idea of using simple hand tools, everyday skills and readily available materials.

 Here is a version of the text published *********, without images and footnotes

Phantoms, controversies and communities

 

For the past thirty years I’ve lived on the Boundary Estate in Shoreditch east London, its the first public housing scheme built by a London wide authority, the London County Council in 1891. The estate was designed by a team of young architects inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement with a utopian intent, it was to replace the notorious slum the Old Nichol, and be a model for future public housing.

Arnold Circus 1907

 

The Boundary Estate consists of 23 blocks of flats arranged around seven tree-lined roads radiating from a central raised garden, with a bandstand at its heart. Each block is subtly different and beautifully detailed, with decorative brickwork, Dutch gables, Doulton ceramic signage and main entrances that always open onto or from courtyards. The flats themselves are varied in size, some designed for large extended families, others couples and some for individuals, the original plan was to house some 5,000 people in a dense yet generous urban setting. As well as housing, there’s also infrastructure, the kind of infrastructure necessary to encourage communities to form; two schools, shops, a communal laundry, two pubs, a community centre, gardens and bandstand, courtyards in which children can play and clothes could be dried, a church and two mews made of small craft and small-batch workshops. Public housing for an aspirational working class.

While housing Bethnal Green locals, the estate has also accommodated waves of migrants, initially european Jews escaping fascism, Irish families seeking employment and since the 1960s Bangladeshis working in public service, the local garment factories and increasingly the restaurant trade. Since I’ve been living on the estate, and the Conservative government’s 1981 Right to Buy scheme has come into effect, the Bangladeshi majority has been offset by an influx of younger, creative types.

 

This is a written-up version of a more discursive seminar at Chelsea College of Arts on the 28th January 2019, as to why Fred Wilson’s Mining the Museum, and Jean Rhy’s Wide Saragasso Sea are forever linked, for me, to processes of decolonisation...

I wrote it up, as part of my participation in Decolonising the Curriculum

images

Tensile structureFlooded McDonald'sWorking Group: Economy of flowers, Columbia#TransActing flyerSelf Portrait; Relational MapAnouck