“This ship is sinking” says the big painted slogan on the wall right in the middle of the building site that is the Wick, the words have been there for some time but things really are drastically changing (or sinking) now. Things have been drastically changing for a good few years, but it does feel like the final throws of a sinking ship now, it does feel like the end is close, if feels sad walking back through the dark streets at the end of what had been a rather good first night of Hackney WickEd and the inside Out show at Here East.
Getting seriously drastic now, studios are being forced to close, artists (arrogantly) locked out by moneyed-up developers with no regard for the law. People forced out, rents going up and up, buildings coming down, people and places torn apart, cracks appearing as artists look for different ways to deal with the evolving frustration of the situation. Reeps1 talked so well about the community last night as he spoke and impressively performed at the opening of the somewhat controversial InsideOut group show over the river at the imposing Here East complex, he talked passionately of the connections, the empowering effect that the community had on him – something that so many others have talked of – he talked of the way being able to meet with and mix with other creative people gave him scope to do so much more than he imagined he’d ever do, he talked about the challenge, the involvement and the inclusion, about being made to feel welcome and encouraged to create, to push himself, his sentiment was something shared many times last night as artists shared tales of the best days of the now sinking community along with the tales of what’s going on now, of the lock outs and having to leave London, maybe having to leave the country, of how Berlin or Portugal might have to be the next option, about the people who have already been forced to go already. Last night was more about the people that the actual art on the walls, last night was an almost defiant celebration of the opening of yet another Hackney WickEd festival, a yearly event that showcases so so many of the positive things that have gone on in the Wick over the last twenty or so very creative inclusive years
is there any hope for the Wick? There’s some words about the show and the need to maybe build bridges and try and establish an alternative to what seems to be the inevitable, the words were written and posted ahead of the weekend and ahead of my taking part in the big Gavin Turk curated Inside Out show in the giant (giant!) futuristic cold-hearted Here East ghost town of a place. I’m still conflicted about this show in this big space, a show on enemy turf, in a giant space that is to house Mr Turk’s studio for a month or two. What are we doing here? Why are they inviting us? What’s going on? There’s more to be written about the how and the why and the what next in the next few days, we’ll do that later, for now a flavour or two and a whole load of fractured photos from last night’s rather busy Inside Out opening…
Here East was indeed packed out last night, it did feel like a real event, but it did feel like the final throws and I’m still conflicted, I’m still a little uncomfortable about taking part in the show in the giant ghost town in a soulless complex on the edge of the River Lee over the water from Hackney Wick on the Olympic stadium side. Still conflicted but one thing is for certain, there were more than enough bridges for us to get there and then get back to the after show parties in the actual Wick without much of a problem (there’s even a locked up bridge that’s not in use!?), one thing’s for certain, we certainly don’t need more studios knocked down and people pushed out just to build yet another damn bridge! We have enough bridges!!
So Here East was packed last night, a big (big) empty space brought to life by art and people, a space taken over by Gavin Turk, his studio occupying part of the building, a big exhnition and creative space next to his studio hosting the Inside Out group show over the Hackney WickEd weekend before he fills it all himself (I assume). Last night it was a space packed with people, with talk, with sound, a space suddenly alive with creativity and colour, a soulless building brought to life with interaction, with performance, with people and yes, with some of that community spirit that has fuelled Hackney Wick and Hackney Wicked itself for many years now. This ship may be sinking but if she is then she’s going down with a bang and for all the debates about the right and wrongs this was a rather good show, a rather eventful event, a defiantly good coming together of so many positives. Last night was about so many things, it was about some of the many things and the many people and the many studios that have existed in and around this special East London place, last night was about so many things, it was mostly about saying hey look, look at what you are destroying, look at all these people in your empty space, do you really need to destroy all this? Do you really need to be so greedy? Do people not matter? Is community of no importance? is it all about money? And if it is all about money, aren’t all these artists and all this creativity an asset?
Who were all those people in the vast Here East space last night? What did go on? Will anyone take notice? We’ll tear the night apart and write about it all properly on the other side of the weekend, this is no time to be banging on a keyboard, this is a time to be out there exploring the remaining studios and spaces of the Wick, to be out painting and meeting and defiantly enjoying, to be debating the situation, enjoying the art, today is a day to be out celebrating what’s left of the artistic community of Hackney Wick. For now some photos and a visual taste or two of some of what went down last night at inside Out and the opening night of Hackney Wicked 2017, we’ll write about it all properly next week, are we just shifting the deckchairs around? For now a bag load of photos…. (sw)
Click on an image to enlarge or to run the fractured slide show…