Sunday, October 08, 2017

Spectres of Modernism: Art Against Overdevelopment

Have you ever seen a 'ghost home' and would you want to live near one?

Following on from my last blog regarding Soho, London, and strategically if not ironically timed to coincide with this year's Frieze Art Fair, I believe the following will be of interest to many of my readers.

Fellow artist and friend, Stewart Home, along with a stellar ensemble, including Iain Sinclair, Jeremy Deller, Fiona Banner, Gavin Turk and many other leading British artists and writers associated with 'Artists Against Overdevelopment,' is participating in the multi-staged exhibit/cultural demonstration, 'Spectres of Modernism: Art Against Overdevelopment,' now taking place in East Central London.  

Curated by Fraser Muggeridge Studio, the group has created and assembled a display of brightly coloured protest banners displayed along the balconies of Bowater House and designed to call attention to the appalling and regrettably ongoing gentrification of London. 

According to the group, at issue here, if not a global problem, is the very real concern that housing developers continue to gobble up neighbourhood city real estate to build luxury apartments designed to cater to buy-to-leave investors - a familiar scenario to those of us in California since the 80's, where the divide between displaced locals and interlopers has never been more glaringly apparent than in the area known as Silicon Valley, where residents sharing their communities with uninhabited ghost homes purchased solely for investment value continue to blight the city landscape.  

At the heart of the group's current focus in London, however, is one of Britain's largest home builders, Taylor Wimpey, who among others, they claim are designing complexes solely for inflated sale to foreign investors, often enticed by fraudulent or trumped up descriptions of the locations of these proposed complexes, resulting in the creation of more non-resident owned ghost homes.  

The larger problem, however, seems to be that not only are these neighbourhoods not development-friendly, high-end, urban real estate surrounded by 'luxury retail shops,' but rather historic and working class communities where many of the aforementioned artists and their families continue to live, work and attend school, as they have done for several generations. 

The group is seeking support and public awareness of this issue.  If you would like to learn more about the exhibit, which runs through 10 December, or how you can help their current efforts to quell Taylor Wimpey's 'The Denizen' Golden Lane Ghost Home, rather…'Luxury Apartment Complex,' please check out:

It doesn't take but a cursory understanding of these issues

 to realise that gentrification is not just a benign sign of 

urban renewal, but rather a polarising and 

disenfranchising form

 of segregation.

                                                Billboard - Canary Wharf (Banksy)