This summer I will be co-ordinating a project with young people in the South London area of Elephant and Castle that involves the installation of a temporary go-kart track and a series of workshops to build soapbox style go-karts for the above mentioned track.
There is more information on the project at www.releasethewolves.org
And we have also launched a crowdfunding profile on wefund.
I would like to set out a few of the wider themes I want to develop through this project. I will outline some of the starting points of those themes, but from there onwards my aim is their exploration, and I hope to hear other edgeryders’ experiences and comments.
- #politicalcontext Elephant and Castle is going through massive structural change. The site identified for the Grand Prix Expo is an enormous housing estate, from which nearly all its previous residents have been evicted. It awaits redevelopment by private developers lendlease. The programme has received criticism because if its ineffective consultation process, and because of the diminishing amount of ‘affordable’ housing the new development will offer.
- I hope the project will build space for the critical discussion of some of these themes as people from different groups/ backgrounds/ perspective come into contact with one-another. (part of a process of stimulating new allegiances and future activity)
- I want to identify ways to work creatively as an artist and with communities that cuts through the advancing process of gentrification, rather than assist it. This I recognise is a reoccurring debate (the arts used willingly or unwillingly as the carrot for gentrification) and I hope people may have some comments to offer here.
- #young people often get a bad ride. Treated way more to stop and searches than to awards or any sort of positive recognition. Although two artists are involved in this project, the creativity and skills of the young people will inform the whole thing throughout and the role of the artists will be to support/ feed that creativity. The purpose of the Grand Prix Expo will then be to recognise and celebrate young people (but not in such a mad corny/ cringy way like I just made it sound… hopefully the opposite)
- #space I am keen to take the ideas out of their conventional vessels: artworks out the gallery, and youth work out the youth centre. Inevitably ideas and practices become fused to the environments they inhabit: institutions institutionalize. This is sometimes difficult to recognise until you start playing outside the playground and a whole world of possibilities opens up.
- #relationship to the built environment No doubt part of a much broader project, is the question of our relationship to the built environment. The heygate estate, because of its (officially titled) ‘interim’ status presents us with a slightly altered experience of this relationship: the rules and grids as to how we are to use the space are largely absent. Some might find this scary, for others liberating, and some people perhaps both. I'm not suggesting to use the heygate like some kind of weird unique zoo, but rather try and reflect this experience outwards onto the more surveilled and ordered sphere. There are lots of directions this could take, i am interested to hear people's thoughts..