Lecture (Week 8)

During this lecture Kayleigh and Laura had prior commitments. As a result I spoke to my lecturer and it was decided that I would continue at home as she did not need to see our group for any specific reason.

Subsequently I spent the lecture hours doing some research into the Hackney area as a whole.

Throughout the project I have become acutely aware that as practitioners we are operating as ‘Outsiders’ Below is and article that I found on what that means for us as artists and the area we are operating in.

http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/jhamlin/4111/Readings/MertonKnowledge.pdf

After falling upon this article I have become acutely aware of how important it is to understand the area that we are working with and do exactly that, work with it not against it.

For this reason I feel that it is important the emphasise the fact that we are not from the area, but we are leaving a mark on the area through our presence alone. It is hoped that through the freedom of our project for the participants to make it what they want it to be, we will take a facilitators role that does not dictate the final outcome but instead allows the participants to alter the site through their presence and share information about what they find.

 

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Lecture (Week 7)

Firstly as a class we examined our interpretations of the reading by Jane Rendell that we had been allocated the week previous.

Key Concepts

  • What is art ?
  • Land artists is this site specific ?
  • Land art as a critique of gallery settings

The third point is of particular interest to me due to our own project. We have created a hybrid of the land art that Rendell refers to and the gallery setting that is scrutinised by so many practitioners as elitist. It calls in to question whether our project can be inclusive and site specific at the same time as its display being in a gallery.

Personally I feel due to the welcoming atmosphere of the proud archivist and the geographical location of the café this should not be a problem when presenting the work as a site-specific theatre.

After this analysis the class moved to the proud archivist, I am learning to love this little café and was excited to return. Once we arrived we met with Anton who spoke to us about our various projects and it was decided that our map would be displayed in the centre on the room, the bottom layer of the map will displayed on a table while the acetate layer and letters will be suspended above. The table location will allow participants to move around freely and explore the map. Our audio recording that accompanies our sound map layer will be on a laptop on another table while there will be an empty table projected onto the back wall on a live feed in which participants can place their own maps when they return from their walk. Below is an image of the space;

Performance Space at The Proud Archivist

During this lecture we also looked at the advertising campaign necessary for the showcasing of our work. It was decided that Angelia would create a flyer while there would also be a Facebook group created.

Lecture (Week 6)

This lecture marks the half way point of the module and its time to start making !

I was particularly excited as today we made a trip to a local arts and crafts shop that Kayleigh had located. While there we brought A1 mound board for our bottom layer as we decided that it would be more sturdy that simple card. We also decided to create a 3rd Layer for a map by getting relevant letter to hang above our map representative of our title, we decided that we would cover these in relevant pre-existing maps from the area.

When went back to the archive in order to check in with Hilary and start our map. We discussed what we wanted from the map and after much discussion decided that we did not simply want to copy a pre existing map but instead make or own take on the map that we have found from 1870. We then sat looking at the map and started transferring the main landmarks on to our own mount board. We did so freehand and in pencil paying particular attention to our four chosen landmarks;

  • The Church
  • The Station
  • The Gas Work
  • The Bridge

We then allocated decided on a particular landmark each to go away and research so that we could start making the information packs.

I chose the church as I am intrigued by the silence that it offers and the way it compares with other landmarks in terms of noise.

Below is an image of the local arts and crafts shop that we got our materials from, it was great to locally source our material which means every part of our project will be part of the area.

Islington

Lecture (Week 5)

This lecture began with an exploration of the reading by Pinter.

Points Raised

  • How do we write our city ?
  • What are the different ways in which a city can be written ?
  • Through walking we can discover our city and rediscover it
  • Pinter presents the idea that ‘Urban Exploration’ can document a city from individual perspectives.

After the discussion of the reading we met to discuss our proposal. After altering a few terms and grammar our feedback was positive. We were asked to make a more clear example of the actual proceedings for the day and the logistics of it.

Below is our proposal;

Site Specific Proposal

We then made the following plan;

  • Participants enter the ‘proud archivist’
  • They are introduced to the project
  • They are given a piece of paper with our four landmarks on and it is explained to them what is expected of them
  • They then have 15mins to walk around the installation look at the maps listen to the sound recording
  • They are then given 1 hour to complete their walk
  • On their return they are asked to fill in their individual sheet with their own maps in whatever form the wish
  • They will then be asked to place the maps on a table to create one large map
  • Finally they will be aske to leave comments in the comment book

After clarifying the logistics of our project we had a discussion about the materials that we would need for our maps.

Bottom Layer

We decided to create a layer that would be a drawing of our chosen area from 1800’s as inspired by the map that we located in the archives. It will also contain 3D models of our chosen Landmarks. The map will take the theme of colours from the colours we most often see on our walks;

  • Black
  • Grey
  • Green
  • Blue

and red from the Hackney coat of arms this to bring the connection of the area closer to the physical element of our project.

Below is the image that we found of the coat of arms;

Hackney Coat of Arms

Materials;

  • Thick Card
  • Pens
  • Maps (For 3D landmarks)

Top Layer

This layer is to be our sound map made out of acetate that will be suspended above the bottom layer so participants will be able to see the contrast between the past and present in the area.

  • Acetate
  • Acetate pens

We plan to source these material during our next lecture.

Lecture (Week 4)

During the first part of this lecture we spent some time discussing the observations that we had made during the week. This led onto a discussion about audience and who we intend to view our project and the issues involved in performing within a street setting as some members of the class are planning on doing.

Found this discussion particularly interesting with regards to our thoughts about our own project because although we are not making a spectacle of ourselves on the street we are inviting other individuals to make a performance out of themselves by partaking in our map walk, although they will not have anything to distinguish them from the rest of the public they are essentially performing. This train of thought made me consider what kind of audience we want to market out project towards. This is something that I will address when I next talk to my group so that we have a clear target group and can start marketing.

During the second half of the lecture we spent some time looking around the library. After much discussion as a group we decided on the area that we want our map to focus on. The Haggerston area of Hackney, near where we met at the ‘Proud archivist’ the previous week. This was because we have been exploring Hackney for a number of weeks now and the location that we have chosen conveys very clearly a series of contrasts; old and new, poor and rich, noise and silence. For this reason we hope that our participants will be able to observe a plethora of differences as well as discovering multiple points of interest.

With this in mind we then delved through the archive in order to locate some maps of the area from years gone by and evaluate and discover the differences.

Here are the differences that we discovered;

Here is what we found:

  • 1870 Map (VIII 27): Independent Gas Works, soup kitchen, India rubber works, Dalston distillery, ice warehouse, stone yard, timber yard, St Mary’s Church, fountain, Shoreditch almshouses, Military Barracks and Imperial Gas Works.
  • 1894-96 Map: Gas Works loss their names, new tramway, Independent Gas Work has grown in size, soda water manufactory/mineral water and gas meter manufactory.
  • 1935 Map: Independent Gas Works has changed, Military Barracks been replaced by LPTB Garage, a school is now located near the Gas Works, factories still there, St Mary’s Church still there, Haggerston Swimming Baths have been built, Shoreditch Power Station been built and the canal has changed from Regents to Grand Union.
  • 1938 Map: Queens Road becomes Queensbridge Road, Gas Works extended, buildings gone but factories still there.
  • 1953 Map: Ruins, new playground and Haggerston Basin is gone.

Below are some images of that maps that we located;

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Lecture (Week 3)

During this lecture we went to an Arts venue/café called the Proud Archivist.

Information about the Proud Archivist

The Proud Archivist is built around an engaging and versatile concept – designed and programmed to echo, emulate and revive the traditions of London’s grand 17th & 18th century coffee houses.

Bringing together a simple café / bistro offering alongside & within a gallery / library aesthetic – and overlaid with a diverse fringe cultural and community programming, we want to reflect and represent the interests and passions of the people who make up our area.

A home of conversation, conviviality and stimulation, we want to  become a thriving cultural & entertainment hub at the heart of the community.

Below is an image of the Proud Archivist. The café is in a beautiful location next to the Hackney waterways. I found the atmosphere of the café incredibly welcoming despite the fact that we were a group of ‘Tourists’ in café full of ‘Regulars’.

View from the staircase at The Proud Archivist (c) Luke Hayes

We then went on a walk through the area around us. I decided to go on this walk with Kayleigh and Laura as we found a connection between my theme of noise in London and the idea of what you hear when you say nothing at all and their idea about using a map or mapped walk of the area.

Throughout our walk we took photos and assessed the surrounding area. We found that the area was very quiet and beautiful a massive Juxta-Position from the previous walks that I have been on although there was most definitely still the dull roar of London in the background.

We also found that the area was very residential, there were many flats old and new upon further research I found that the area has undergone

Below are some images from our walk;

This is a map that we found on our walk this was of particular interest to us because we are intrigued by creating a Map as part of our project. The map was located along side St Regent Cannel.

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The area where we found these ducks were the quietest on our walk and reminded me of my childhood. This links to the idea that place and evoke memory responses.

Here a few pictures of Maps that we found along the way, this is something that we are now very interested in as a group.

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Below is an image of a ‘Peace Wall’ a place were the residents of Hackney can and have displayed art work. I found this project particularly intriguing as it represents a running theme that has come apparent to me about London people are obsessed with finding ‘Peace’ whatever that might mean.

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When we arrived back at the Proud Archivist we made a map of our walk. We then discussed our map and others. It was incredibly interesting to examine the other maps and the hidden meaning behind what everybody created, it was interesting to find that people had created objects out of pre-existing maps one group even created the people from there walk out of a London A-Z this was intriguing the idea of the body as a human map.

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Below is a recording of the conversation our group had about the progression of our project.

Lecture (Week 2)

Today we examined the Tompkins reading;

We concluded the following primary points;

  • Site-specific theatre is a widely contested term that takes on multiple interpretations
  • Tompkins examines the main expressions within Site-Specific theatre ‘Place’ and ‘space’ he looks at what makes a ‘space’ a ‘place’ and how they can be used in a way that does not contradict the authenticity of the area.
  • Tompkins acknowledges the idea that for a performance to be termed Site-specific the has to be a relationship between not only the site and the performer but also the audience.

The next topic of discussion was the daily walks that we embarked upon, and how we chose to record them.

I found in particularly interesting that everyone made a similar observation about the noise that was present throughout their journeys. One comparison that really interested me was peoples perception of greenery in London most observed as a welcome break from the ‘Concrete Mass’.

This conversation has made me consider how I can make comparisons within my project. The one thing that has become apparent through my research is that there is an issue with finding ‘Peace and Quiet’ in the big smoke. With this in mind I have decided to base my project around silence an explore how this contrasts with the busy chosen site of the Hackney Borough.

After out in class discussion about the previous weeks tasks we talked a little bit about the work of Willie Dorner and Vallie Export.

The Artists themselves tend to look at the human form in urban environments, this is of course of particular interest to myself as I am a human form in an urban environment. This has made me consider the different ways in which we can be considered by others when walking around the areas in which we live.

Below are some images from the artists;

We then visited Hoxton Hall where we got to learn about the history from one of the staff members.

It was interesting to find about the community side of the building and hear about its historical value, it also posed a few questions;

  • What makes a community?
  • Who is my project going to be for?
  • What can I take from the area?
  • What can I give to the area?

Below are some images of Hoxton Hall: