Tuesday, 29 June 2010

LSD Interviews - Fugitive Images (I am Here) - Issue Two

Boarded-up and half-empty housing estates have become familiar landmarks in the contemporary urban landscape. Their façades function as projection screens for collective fears and fantasies of troubled and dangerous environments that may lurk behind. This perception is all the more emphasized when rapid redevelopment encircles such estates with new luxury loft apartments and live–work spaces.

I Am Here intervenes in this dynamic of preconception and projection, replacing the 67 bright orange boards – which have covered the windows of empty flats in Samuel House since April 2007 – with large-scale photographs of residents on the estate. Located alongside the busy and picturesque Regent’s Canal in the heartland of Hackney, wedged between Kingsland Road and Queensbridge Road, the five-storey block quickly became an object of curiosity, often pointed out, talked about and photographed by passersby.

I Am Here was initiated by artists who are themselves long-term residents of Samuel House, and grew from their experience of living inside such a peculiar photo opportunity. Through their open windows, facing on to the canal, they often overheard passersby speculating on reasons for the buildings demise and it’s current state. The installation aims to disturb this one-way interrogation: onlookers no longer stand unchallenged, as their gaze is met by a multitude of faces.

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