IS THERE no bar to Dalston’s near-effortless progress towards becoming Kool Kapital of the World?
The latest manifestation occurs in the long and straight road with various names that comprises Dalston high street: a public display of art aiming to link small business and hipsters by putting self-referential exhibitions in their windows.
The installation by Sarah Cockings in the window of the opticians Eyes Only is one of the best examples: an array of glasses with tiny pictures on the lenses that can afford huge pleasure to the passer-by who takes the time to pause: “Oh, look, that’s a picture of Marrakesh… Whoah! There’s Cairo”. Whether what organiser Happen Projects terms the “interactive dialogue between trader and artist” is successful in all eight shop installations, will be up to you, the public.
Hackney council, well aware of how the street’s pound-shop, chicken-shack, betting-hall image is holding back the town, was so impressed with the idea when it was initially proposed, that it coughed up £2,800 for the project which, journalist and, uhm, involvee Kasia Maciejowska, told Loving Dalston, “is the full amount we requested”.
That worked out as “£200 expenses per artist — some are way over, some way under — the rest is on booklet-printing, web-building, lighting and technicians.
“Nobody gets paid except the website builder and the technicians who’ve helped us.”
She was full of praise for Cory Defoe, town-centre co-ordinator at Hackney council, who approved the funding happen. But, then, he grew up in Dalston.
* Exchange Series, Dalston town centre: eight shops, eight designers, eight visual dialogues (sic) . Ends Thurs 12 Jan 2012.