Spectres of Modernism at Raven Row, London, 2 February 2018


Join us at Raven Row on Friday evening 2 February for a live programme of performances, readings and screenings, and an exhibition and sale of work by the artists, writers, photographers and filmmakers involved in the Spectres of Modernism protest.

The event aims to draw attention to and raise funds for the legal campaign against Taylor Wimpey and the City of London council and to quash planning permission granted for the luxury development The Denizen. This would replace 110 homes for key workers with 99 investment flats but no on site social or affordable housing. It would also overshadow local homes, schools, businesses and Fortune Street Park.

Join us in making this a landmark case that transforms UK planning so that decisions are no longer skewed in favour of an elite.

Performances: Mark Aerial Waller, Iain Sinclair and Bill Parry-Davis, Nina Wakeford in collaboration with Lloyd Corporation.

Screenings: Zoe Brown, Katrina Palmer, Esther Planas, St Luke’s Community Collective & Friends (including Owen Oppenheimer and Bioni Samp), Maxim Gertler-Jaffe, Chloe Hur, Mai Omer Teplitzky (Goldsmiths Visual Sociology MA).

Readings: Tom McCarthy, Chris Petit.

Presentations: Stewart Home, Anna Minton.

Exhibition: Anthony Auerbach, Fiona Banner, Justin Coombes, Deborah Curtis, Adam Dant, Jeremy Deller, Arnaud Desjardin, Sarah Dobai, Chris Dorley-Brown, Katherine Fawssett, Margarita Gluzberg, Patrick Goddard, Pippa Henslowe, Siu Lan Ko, Immo Klink, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Fraser Muggeridge, Elizabeth Price, Anjalika Sagar – The Otolith Group, Eva Stenram, Eleanor Vonne Brown.

Funds raised from the sale of works (including the original protest banners) will be donated to the Save Golden Lane Crowd Justice campaign to cover the costs of a hearing in the Planning Court, to argue why permission for judicial review should be granted and, if successful, the further costs of the judicial review itself.

Friday 2 February 6.30 – 9.30 pm (Live programme from 6.45 pm).

Raven Row, 56 Artillery Lane, London E1 7 LS.

“A spectre is haunting the cynical overdevelopment that characterises London’s buy to leave property boom, the spectre of modernism!” #savegoldenlane


The show is over but the campaign goes on…

Spectres of Modernism was always intended as just one strand in a longer and broader campaign against Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen development. The show proved effective by generating press coverage of the many political and social issues flagged up by the City of London granting planning permission for Taylor Wimpey’s ghost flats – including potential conflicts of interest on the part of City of London councillors Chris Hayward, Michael Bear and James Thomson. As a result of our banner exhibition on the balconies of Bowater House these matters have now entered mainstream media discourse. The show and the issues it raised were covered by the national media in the UK, as well as the art press. Prior to Spectres of Modernism our concerns had only been aired in local papers and/or blogs. But far more important than press as regards Spectres was the way it brought our community even closer together as we fought Taylor Wimpey and the City of London council.

We’re still waiting to hear if the application for a judicial review of planning permission for The Denizen has been successful, which is one way we hope our campaign will move forward. But it is also important to keep raising awareness about social cleansing, a process explicit in the demolition of Bernard Morgan House – with its 110 key worker housing units – that Taylor Wimpey plan to replace with The Denizen’s 99 buy to leave luxury apartments; and with no social or affordable housing in complex whatsoever! Likewise we will continue to participate in the ongoing fight against the uniquely undemocratic political system in the City of London – with the council controlled by business votes – which denies residents a proper voice in local government. If the City of London was run by a democratically elected council like those found in the rest of the UK, The Denizen wouldn’t have stood much chance of winning planning approval in the first place!

While the Spectres of Modernism banners were up on Bowater House we blogged every day. That will stop now and we’ll only make occasional update posts from here on in. The 75 posts we’ve made so far aren’t just about us and the press coverage Spectres received, they were also intended to place our campaign in both a local London and global context; and to let people know about some other campaigns we support.

Please don’t forget our post show event. This is now rescheduled to take place on Friday 2 February at Raven Row, 56 Artillery Lane, London E1 7LS, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. There will be an exhibition, performances, screenings, talks and the sale of works from and related to Spectres of Modernism, to consolidate the protest at Bowater House against Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen Development.  With the participation of: Mark Aerial Waller, Stewart Home, Tom McCarthy, Anna Minton, Katrina Palmer, Chris Petit, Esther Planas, Bill Parry-Davies, Iain Sinclair, Claire Louise Staunton, Nina Wakeford and Lloyd Corporation in collaboration with students from Goldsmiths Visual Sociology MA. All proceeds from the sale will go towards the campaign.

Other sites supporting our campaign against The Denizen – including OPEN Golden Lane and Reclaim EC1 – will in future be more active than this one. So please check them out! And activism against Taylor Wimpey’s development still retains a live cultural component via the horror stories various novelists are producing set in The Denizen; the blog featuring some of them is here.

A spectre is haunting the cynical overdevelopment that characterises London’s buy to leave property boom, the spectre of modernism!” #savegoldenlane

Our Flyers Are Everywhere! Pt 5

Our flyers may not have come flying through your letter box yet if you live in the Isle of Lewis but they are in a lot of places around EC1. Here they are on a table at the EC1 Block Party in St Luke’s Gardens on 19 November 2017; alongside our neighbour’s Save Our Sunlight/Redesign Finsbury Redevelopment campaign. A lot of leaflets were taken, and a lot of free mince pies were eaten too! Everyone had a good time!


“A spectre is haunting the cynical overdevelopment that characterises London’s buy to leave property boom, the spectre of modernism!” #savegoldenlane

Esther Planas: Urban Field Work

To date in these blogs we haven’t really looked at any of the artists in our Spectres of Modernism protest. We deliberately didn’t provide biographies or links to their websites because we wanted our focus here to be on our campaign; we also figured anyone who was interested in one of more of the artists they weren’t already familiar with could look them up online. As our banners will be removed from Bowater House in less than a month, and they’ve achieved the impact we hoped for, it will not be too distracting if we engage with some of the urban interventions our artists have been involved in now.

Many of our ‘artists against overdevelopment’ have produced work that might be described as ‘psychogeography’ or ‘deep topology’. To provide just one example of this here, we’ll now focus on a film and photography series by Esther Planas entitled E2 8DY Walk About 2011-2015. This visually records the neighbourhood in which Planas lived at the time she made the work; it’s about 20 minutes walk east of Golden Lane. We’re just going to quote the English text she provides about this, the Spanish text is longer. We reproduce one photograph from the series above, there are many more on her website. The full project can be found at the link at the bottom of this, and obviously there’s much much more on the many other pages Esther Planas has put online.

The Film: Walking on the whereabouts near my place, with a sound artefact and a small camera, the desolated field and the special totem that holds a whole building with its concrete anima are all manifesting calling up for rebellion. Sound and field recording of a somehow unresolved situation.

The Photos: Doing walking urban research, a series of photos taken between 2011 and 2015, an ongoing journal of walks around the area where I live, the same buildings that I see from my window, the streets, the estates I cross and how they are becoming derelict, the casual gardens, the plants and flowers, the birds and squirrels.

“Affectivity—fear, ambivalence, terror, shame, disorientation, or dispossession—figures prominently in addressing the subject’s identification with, or resistance to, the indeterminacy of change. Affect registers and regulates the subject’s ambivalent and anxious responses as it faces what is new, partially known, or without guarantees; at the same time it provides the agent with an imminent sense of sensory and bodily attentiveness to the task of change. To the extent that affectivity is crucial in positioning subjects in relation to contingent and indeterminate circumstances, affect is an acute measure of the time change takes—in particular, the temporalities of transition or transience.” Homi K Bhabha

See the full project here: http://www.estherplanas.com/index.php?/projects/e2-8dy-walk-about-20112015/

“A spectre is haunting the cynical overdevelopment that characterises London’s buy to leave property boom, the spectre of modernism!” #savegoldenlane

Our Flyers Are Everywhere! Pt 4


Our flyers may not have got to galaxy MACS0647-JD yet but they are in a lot of places around EC1. As these pictures show one is even stuck to the locally notorious phone box on the corner of Golden Lane and Fann Street, between Bowater House and Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen AKA The Turd site. This public ‘amenity’ is known as the Cripplegate Shooting Gallery because junkies use the phone to make deals and the box as a place to take drugs. The reversed piece white sheet beneath the Book Fair flyer has a hand written message and drawing from local children asking the junkies who use the phone box not to publicly poo in the area; such anti-social behaviour is an ongoing problem although Taylor Wimpey and their agents aren’t flagging it up to ghost home investors spending millions of pounds buying luxury apartments in The Turd off-plan (before they’re even built, if they ever are). In the background is the Children Need Sunlight To Grow banner by Gavin Turk and Deborah Curtis; further back is the Listen Here banner by Turner Price winner Liz Price, and other banners by the likes of Esther Planas and Mark Waller are also visible! Spectres of Modernism: Artists Against Overdevelopment.

“A spectre is haunting the cynical overdevelopment that characterises London’s buy to leave property boom, the spectre of modernism!” #savegoldenlane