Author Archives: cliocapeille

‘All that is solid is made to be broken tomorrow, pulverized or dissolved, so it can be replaced next week, and the whole process can go on again and again, hopefully forever, in ever more profitable forms’ (Berman, 1987). Creative destruction characterises many processes by which capitalist development grows out of the destruction of some prior order. Within the colliding and fractured urban landscape of Hackney Wick and the Olympic site, what new city type can be re-imagined? An in-between zone is proposed, acting as a political suture – the process of destruction-creation is reversed to “an uninterrupted process of creation and re-creation” (Constant, 1974). The ‘floating city’ is grounded in the urban fracture and escapes the contextual air space pressure by minimizing its footprint and exploiting the structure of existing buildings. It is fed and grows using waste materials from construction and destruction sites, and hosts a fragile network of artistic communal spaces.

Hackney Wick, Stephen Gill

“In Hackney Wick, Stephen Gill tells several stories, the first one beginning
with a discovery. While taking photographs for the project A Book of Field
Studies, which was published in 2004, on a Sunday in January 2003, the Londoner
by choice ended up in this inhospitable place. To his surprise, Gill stumbled
upon an enormous marketplace where mountains of washing machines, video cassette
recorders, and refrigerators were being offered for sale. The desolate site made
no secret of the fact that the goods were stolen and that the immigrants and
asylum-seekers selling them were struggling to eke out a meager living. The
scene would have been an ideal stage for a critical social reportage. But Gill
observed the hustle and bustle more closely, and beyond the chaos and the noise
he noticed a fascinating spectrum of different lifestyles with a completely
separate set of laws. The Brit bought a plastic camera with a fixed lens for
fifty pence, which from that point onward he time and again aimed at the chaotic
trade center. ”

‘Invariably Eden – Stephen Gill’s Hackney Wick’
by Christoph Schaden


Rachel Whitehead, Demolished

Demolished captures the destruction of tower blocks in
three different housing estates in Hackney, east London, between 1993 and 1995.
According to Whiteread, this work is ‘something that is going to be completely
forgotten… the detritus of our culture’.During the Thatcher era, Whiteread
was particularly concerned by the social and economic changes introduced by the
Conservative party, and their impact on homeless people in London. This work
operates as a metaphor for neglect and disappearance, commemorating what no
longer exists.