Conversation / PART I & II          
Collaboration, Co-production, Participation – What does it mean?   The role of representation in the construction of the self.  

Wastelands | Appropriations

22 March, 6.30 - 8.30 PM   29 March, 6.30 - 8.30 PM 7 June, 6.30 - 8.30 PM

What does it mean for an artist to create work with communities? What are the power relations involved? Where does the value lie?
As an artist and a writer, both working in collaborative, participatory ways, we are interested in issues of co-authorship, collaboration and co-production. We increasingly struggle with the terms ‘engagement’ and ‘participation’ and want to explore where our own practices sit politically and artistically.


We live in a world of appearances where “all social relationships have disappeared into the screen of mediation” (Guy Debord). Our realities are infused with stereotyped or illusory images of an individual. Representation, through advertising, mass media, facebook affects how people perceive themselves and others. Identities in today’s global world, with migration and mobility as a constant, are fractured. And ‘the self’ gets formed in a constant negotiation and ‘re-positioning’ against ‘the other’.


The Heygate Estate, once home to 3,000+ people, sits empty and boarded up in the middle of Elephant and Castle. A discarded space. Is its future only in the hands of the council and developers?

How do places become discarded? How might they be appropriated? Are ‘local’/’grassroots’ appropriations only ever ephemeral? Can they make any kind of lasting difference?


A record of the conversations Part I & II is going to be available here soon.

  We would like to explore the cross-over between propaganda (in its different forms and degrees from TV programmes, billboards, facebook etc.) where the subject is ‘given’ and participatory practices where the subject is ‘created in discussion’. We would be exploring the questions of agency (How does an individual become the subject? When does the passer-by become the viewer? How does the subject reach-out to the viewer?) and truth (what kinds of truth do the contemporary forms of representation convey?). Bringing together architects and artists, we want to explore the politics and potential of spaces that become temporary ‘wastelands’ during the processes of urban decline/development. When and how might a policy of ‘demolish and rebuild’ be challenged? How might these spaces become places of communal production and resistance?
With (left to right from back): Rebecca Davies, Kamala Katbamna, Godson Egbo, Barbara Steveni, Mark Aitken, Fiona Lesley, Zoe Burt, Viv Reiss, Dimitri Launder, Chiara Perini, Sarah Butler, Eva Sajovic   With (clockwise from left): Sarah Davies, Neville Gabie, Juliane Solf, Damian LeBas, Sarah Butler, Chiara Perini, Dimitri Launder, Mara Ferreri, Eva Sajovic, Barby Asante