thinking through programme and people/groups
The project addresses the two main user groups of Hackney Wick which share similar concerns in different contexts and have a main thing in common; they take pride in personal items.
-the artists (end product of artwork)
-the immigrants (things they bring from place of origin)
Hackney Wick is on the verge of disappearance. There will soon be a shift from Hackney Wick being an industrial ghost town to being part of the Olympic Village. The area will lose its essence while the Olympics’ activities claim presence. At the moment Hackney Wick is a non-destination – non-place.
Likewise, immigrants even after they’ve gone through the three stages of settlement in a new urban environment (arrival-establishment-assimilation) feel displaced. By providing the ‘dis-placed’ a ‘non-place’ which could be redefined to accommodate their needs from the effects of the ‘diaspora’, will enable them to experience that part of the city as a place of belonging. This in its turn enhances their freedom of expressing their identity without the fear of being confronted.
A similar condition would apply to the artist group who can sometimes feel disconnected from the rest of the people due to the same fear of confrontation and even loneliness due the lack of communication at a level that would satisfy their intellect.
‘Performance‘ – the impact of interaction within the group occurring in the appropriate location to the group’s needs, goals and objectives. The main task is to provide the suitable conditions for the groups to perform on.
‘Safety’ – when a minority group or a group of an ethnic community is settled and established in a specific urban location, the feeling of safety and belonging to a cityscape is enhanced.
neighbourhood, community, region
‘Freedom of expression’ – the expression of cultural identity without the fear of discrimination is essential to immigrants and ethnic minorities. A place of ‘getting together’ without the threat of racist confrontation.
through: rituals, worship, food culture, fashion, language, music, art
‘Belonging’ -cultural conciousness. Cultural institutions, places of worship and civic associations enable immigrants to experience the city as a place of belonging.
‘Relations with the home country’ – Displaced communities such as immigrants or refugees bare an emotional link with the place of origin. They create new ‘maps’ of attachment by evoking the ambience of their home country by stylistic appropriation of space and self fashioning, maintaining those emotional links.
decorations, messages, objects, signs, clothes, accessories, make-up, odours, sounds
use of mother tongue, hanging out with people of own ethnic group, meeting friends, exchanging information, celebrating, worshipping
‘Street gatherings’ – comprising part of the street by: standing, sitting, hugging, eating/drinking, smoking, talking on cell-phones, playing
‘Flow’ – Vehicular and pedestrian circulation in the system of streets: contributes to social interaction. Pedestrian flow of immigrants is at its peak during evenings of weekdays and weekends when vehicular traffic is in recess.
public squares, pavements, pedestrian streets, footbridges
Archive (permanent) + ‘Performance’ framework (mobile)
Archive – of cultural exchange between immigrants, artists and other user groups in Hackney Wick. It’s purpose is to store and preserve the effects of the immigrants’ performance within a different urban environment than the one they’ve been habitually linked to and the impact of their interaction with other user groups in this unfamiliar context they’ve placed themselves at. The creation of an archive aims to illustrate ways in which people from different ethnic or socio-cultural backgrounds come together and the results of their interaction in terms of information exchange and cultural awarenes. It will also enhance bonds to the place the interaction happens (in this case Hackney Wick) by representing bits stories of people who become both the performers and the audience within a shared space and an experience in temporally dispersed moments.
Performance framework – a ‘flexible’ structure containing modules which can be disparted. Its purpose is to accommodate the ‘performance’ of immigrants (as described above) and also involve other people or people groups in this performance in order for a cultural/social/urban information exchange to happen. To ensure the diversity of user groups the structure can be positioned around various locations in Hackney Wick, including all of its apparent zones: residential/commercial-industrial/industrial space traces – yards.