We hope you had a great night. We did.
Photographs by Kenny Brown
From October 29th to January 13th The People’s History Museum, Manchester will host an IUD ‘temporary research space’ in its Community Gallery. The research space will make available a range of photographs and materials we’ve produced while documenting the changing state of council housing in Pendleton, Salford.
Based in a tower block in Pendleton, we have been recording and researching the estate since 2004. The Community Gallery exhibit will highlight a wide range of images and research materials from this extended period of research that critically examines the estates recent transformation.
Wang Bing’s immersive nine hour documentary epic explores the changing world of China between 1999 to 2001. Set in the North-East of the country in Shenyang, his observational style records the physical and social textures of the regions heavy industry in its final stages before closure through bankruptcy.
Divided into three sections (Rust, Remnants and Rails) the documentary uses a ‘direct cinema’ approach to faithfully witness the people caught up in the massive changes to their work and homes as a consequence of reform era changes to the former planned market economy. See Jie Li’s excellent article for a further analysis of the film’s context and cinematic style West of the Tracks – Salvaging the Rubble of Utopia.
Currently IUD is exhibiting in The Fire and the Rose curated by Tongyu Zhou as part of the Asia Triennial 14. The work is located in the Vertical Gallery, 3rd Floor, Benzie Building , Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University. We have created a Temporary Research Space, an invitation to spend time exploring selected materials from our archive, derived from fieldwork and other research in Salford, UK and Guangzhou, China. Also included are a small sample of related critical and fieldwork texts. The show is on until November 28th.
“Just as none of us are beyond geography, none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography. That struggle is complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings.” Edward Said, Culture & Imperialism
We cross the main road and enter the waste ground through the old school gates, the ones parents used to visit the head teacher in the 1990’s before the school was demolished. We had already smelled smoke from the other side of the road, before we saw the treacly patches of branded earth, some of them still leaking a pencil line of smoke. The blond grass of the waste ground is too damp to burn for long and the young arsonists (we caught sight of them briefly) have failed in their attempts to make the fires take hold.
Young mothers who were evicted from a hostel called Focus E15 in September 2013 are occupying vacant council houses in East London. The mothers, who were told to look for accomodation on the private rental market in Manchester, Birmingham and Hastings, joined together to resist displacement and fight for “social housing not social cleansing”. The group will be holding an open meeting about the conditions of the estate (recently their water has been turned off) this Sunday 28th September.
We have been thinking a lot about unbuilding as we observe the creative destruction of tower blocks in Salford (see the above photo by IUD on the ground). These demolitions are part of the first phase of a PFI driven gentrification project. In this process many social housing tenants are evicted and their homes replaced with houses and flats for sale on the open market. The demolition industry along with property developers, builders, finance companies and so on benefit from regeneration, which is not really about the provision of better homes but the redistibution of assets, from the poor to the rich. Demolition also functions at a symbolic level, as it rids us of unwanted architectural forms, in this case high rise social housing. The significance of this is not in some failure of the modernist architectural project but the destruction of viable homes and the displacement of the poor. Regeneration in this instance calls for the replacement of unwanted bodies with the healthy bodies of the rich who have money to spend and don’t rely so heavily on council services. In her book Where the Other Half Lives, Sarah Glynn says ” ‘regeneration’ sounds as though it could be a good thing, but it is being used as a Trojan horse for state-sponsored ‘accumulation by dispossession’ on a massive scale”(page 72).
This is an ongoing selection of resources on unbuilding, rubble, demolition etc.
Julian Rosefeldt and Piero Steinle made a video installation from archival sequences of demolitions called Detonation Deutschland. See the diptych above and more on Piero’s Steinle’s website.
Photographs made by Charles Marville of the demolition of large sections of Paris by Baron Haussmann. Marville’s work is digitized in the collection of the Musee Carnavalet (search in French only).
Artist Hilary Powell’s work is an exploration of and collaboration with demolition sites, materials and stories http://demolitionsite.net
Rubble: unearthing the history of demolition, by Jeff Byles and published by Three Rivers Press is a well researched popular history of demolition.
This is an academic paper, which explores the performative properties of asbestos in the demolition process: Inextinguishable fibres: demolition and the vital materialisms of asbestos by Nicky Gregson, Helen Watkins & Melania Calestani, published in Environment & Planning Journal 2010, volume 42.
therubbleclub.com: a club for architects whose creations have been intentionally destroyed during their life time.
10 minute promotional video of back to back demolitions by Controlled Demolition Inc
more to follow….
David Harvey’s talk on the Neoliberal City 2007 at Dickinson College, sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues. Harvey discusses the role that urbanisation has played in absorbing capitalist surpluses. It also addresses the implications of how the neoliberal city is being fashioned in the interests of the wealthy elites and its implications for democracy and governance.
Also look at:
Accumulation by dispossession by Harvey
Designs for a Post-Neoliberal City – e-flux
Image from Bustler.net