Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hammar Does Wicked Art

POP 060/ THURSDAY, 30 JULY 2009

Today’s POP is David, the other. He’s gone fishing. David’s fascination with fashion in politics has led him to write a letter to his constituency, demanding that any new representatives be given a crash course in Power Dressing. His best fashion advise for any buddying politician? ‘When in doubt, ask yourself: what would JFK have worn?’

East London has always been a hub of creative activity. Artists, designers, writers and musicians started turning towards the East end ages ago for cheap rent and a community of like-minded souls. Coolness followed and, not long after, a new clientele appeared with more money to pay the increasing rents. Inevitably this meant some people had to keep on moving in order to stay productive. Of late they have lived and worked in Hackney Wick, a mainly industrial area, perfect for its converted warehouses and big studio spaces.

Now, with the 2012 Olympics and its re-generation programs coming, it looks like these artists might be forced to move again. Either because their buildings are being knocked down in favour of cycling velodromes or because the location is now worth a hellova lot more money and the rents have gone up.

Some people, however, have made a decision to not let this disgraceful predicament go unnoticed. This weekend sees the second Hackney Wicked Festival take over the area. New and old art galleries show exciting artists, often from the area, and street parties are launched with bands, barbeques and painting competitions. A true feast for and by the people of Hackney Wick!

One of the exhibiting galleries is run by Nomadic Projects, an organisation consisting of three art-loving entrepreneurs. Emma Hammar, Louise O’Kelly and Pau Cato call their three-day pop up show the Museum Of Hackney Wick, as it documents the area and its inhabitants. Emma Hammar explains: “We encourage artists to create histories through documentation and collaboration in order to represent the different realities of an ever-changing urban landscape”.

The trio met through various art-related projects and mostly live and work in the Wick and surrounding areas. “The area seems to be on a creative high at the moment, with the Hackney Wicked festival, new galleries and bars and cafes popping up”, says Hammar, who together with O’Kelly and Cato has managed to get local photographer Stephen Gill to collaborate: “He’s a really lovely and approachable guy, very passionate about the area. We approached him and explained a bit about the project, and he just thought it was a great idea and was keen to help us out”.

Also worth mentioning is the duo James Fisher and Jonathan Glazier. Their contribution - The Changing Face Factory - is an interdisciplinary work featuring paintings, sculptures, drawings and a performance. A bit like Allan Kaprow and his famous Happenings in the 1960’s. Fisher and Glazier will take charge of a certain area in the gallery and create masks, with two mask-bearers simultaneously painting the other persons mask. This performance, or “spectacle of change”, as they call it, will also be documented and printed as a book. “The actual performance will encapsulate the struggle between the opposing forces of change, for and against. We believe that this activity highlights a process close to that in a factory”, Glazier explains.

There is no doubt that the Olympics won’t hinder Hackney Wick to flourish creatively. Go down to the festival, seek out The Nomadic Project and enjoy this smorgasbord of diverse talent - and keep an eye out for their next pop up!

Hackney Wicked 31 July - 2 August

Also see
Dazed Digital article

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