Is it a shop or is it a shrine to consumerism? Either way, in Stoke Newington the past is back

Emily Rawson @ launch of Mint N16 15/12/2011 © ∂å

POP BACK to the recent past and take a peek at the future. You can try it at The Vest is History, an installation (now there’s a term from the past) opening in Stoke Newington this week.
Despite its sub-tabloid title, the show is bound to be stimulating, posing questions such as “Would anyone turn back time to swap cloud mixes for phonograph records?”
Of course, the vinyl revival has already answered that question, but others more adventurous will be posed, such as “What’s your take on the loss of cigarette advertising?” (unmissed, I’d say; although on second thoughts, those Benson ads…) and the demise of Super-8 film (too fiddly for me). I’m still trying to finish the film in my old single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras: so much easier to shoot with a pocket digi.
Amazing sights include:
* a homage to the string vest (imagine: a single garment summing up all. Some you can buy — sales pitch: “no two designs are the same — a snip at £8 each”;

Mint owner-curator James Wright in N16 premises © ∂å
Mint owner James Wright and, top, Emily Rawson at launch party

* an eight-seater screening room showing random docu-movies of ordinary life made on 8mm Kodak (the predecessor to video, popular between 1965 and 1980). Plus, ahem, what curator James Wright describes as ”adult-only selections”;
* Emily Rawson and other DJs who may, or may not, be playing 78s on an art-nouveau gramophone.
Wright says: “The Vest is History will reacquaint you with a few lost classics of the fashion, music, film and art worlds. Whether you view change as positive or negative in each of the stories, we are simply trying to say that everything we consume must be considered.”

* The Vest is History: Mint, 73 Stoke Newington High Street, Lon N16 8EL, Thurs 16 Dec 2011-Thurs 5 Jan 2012, Mon-Sun 1pm-7pm (opening hours vary over Christmas-New Year — check website)
* Access for disabled people: The venue says that “the only restriction would be the screening room because it is downstairs and we do not have a lift”.

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One thought on “Is it a shop or is it a shrine to consumerism? Either way, in Stoke Newington the past is back

  1. I do wish this current fashion for nostalgia would cease. We all face some serious problems in the near future which will have serious economic, cultural and environmental ramifications. I thought the young were supposed to be more future-orientated and creative in their thinking and yet all I see is a childish fetishisation of the past. Nostalgia can be dangerous when it becomes an obstacle to addressing current issues.

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