SPACE, ephemerality and other moving atmospheres of industrial wastelands
(University of Graz)
Paper short abstract:
Based on historical and ethnographic research on past, present and future visions of the arts organization SPACE (a leading provider of artist studio buildings located mostly in former industrial wastelands of London) the paper discusses the moving atmosphere of ephemerality for urban regeneration.
Paper long abstract:
London, St. Katharines Docks, 1968: A group of visual artists around Peter Townsend, Peter Sedgley and Bridget Riley discovers and adopts the vast area of the industrial wasteland near the river Thames as producing, living, meeting and presentation space. They founded an association called SPACE, prepared a declaration and started a successful negotiation with the landlord for renting an empty warehouse temporarily. Two years later, in 1970, the artists had to move away to make place for thorough urban regeneration processes. To this day the area has emerged as exclusive urban location with offices, shops, marinas and restaurants. The artists settled down in another abandoned industrial building in East London and the organization SPACE started running a successful business in renting, renovating and reletting artist studios across London - and in delivering community projects addressing its local social neighborhood. Based on ethnographic and historical research on participatory art projects in the cities of London, Graz and Linz the paper analyses the interplay between hard facts (required space, construction level, lease costs, travel connections…) and liquid atmospheric components (ephemerality, abandonment...) for the development of creative urban settlements with focus on SPACE. It shows that these spatial and social processes result not only from pragmatic interests but from a complex interrelation between different time horizons with particular importance of ephemerality which attracts both artists and urban developers.
Encounters between past and future: ethnographic approaches on urban renovation, redevelopment, gentrification and heritagization