A Street Loud With Echoes

Maeve O’Neill, Donald Harding, Shaun C Badham

‘A Street Loud With Echoes’, an exhibition and series of workshops presented in partnership with South Kiosk in London as part of Art Licks Weekend 2019.

‘A Street Loud With Echoes’ continues South Kiosk’s long-term research project into the pioneering work of architecture critic Ian Nairn whose 1955 edition of Architectural Review revolutionised planning policy in the UK. Exploring post-war migration along the Thames, this final iteration of the project navigates along the river taking in the new towns and developments that epitomised post-war planning in the UK.

The exhibition takes in three areas along the Thames – Canary Wharf, Thamesmead and Basildon. Each provides its own foundation myth, a sense of identity that was constructed through the pencil of the architects and planners of the time who sought to erase old histories and replace them with new ones.

Maeve O’Neill’s large-scale photo collage documents the neoliberal fantasies of Canary Wharf’s architecture while providing a sense of the histories that existed before through its interrogation of the district’s edgelands.

Donald Harding’s installation, The Marshes, unfolds across the sprawling Thamesmead estates planned in the 1960’s to house labourers from the old East End. The work uses a horse breed popular amongst the traveller communities who have settled in the area as a way to explore the erasure of histories brought about by the area’s cycles of economic development.

Shaun C Badham’s work revisits the plotlanders in Essex; a radical DIY community who acquired plots of land through auction after the agricultural depression in the late 19th century. In 1949 Basildon was designated as a New Town; an act that led to the compulsory purchase and demolition of the Dunton Plotlands. Today you can still find bricks in the ground, in the form of foundations, boundary walls, wells and other Plotland remnants. The destruction of the tight-knit Plotland communities cemented the reputation of Basildon as the “town built on tears”. Badham’s work brings together a sculptural reconstruction of a plotland residence alongside a separate installation of bricks forged by ex-Plotland communities in Essex.

The project is accompanied by a publication written and designed by architecture critic Carlos Romo Melgar. ‘A Street Loud With Echoes’ comprised a series of workshops with each of the contributing artists hosted at TOW.

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