Hackney Wick sizes up the big-time arty trick

HackneyWick London 240814 © David Altheer

HackneyWick London 240814 © David AltheerTHE DILEMMA for many pictorial artists has always been that tiresome gap between impoverished beginnings and the rural mansion that comes when they become international names, “startists”  like “Diamond” Damien Hirst.

Den-City1, an event at Hackney Wick will make a virtue of it by making it the topic, although you probably won’t find anyone associated with the event admitting to that.

They see it as “a temporary utopian city of colour, a shanty town of installations, dens and assemblages” created in Hackney Wick by more than 50 artists.

Curator Rebecca Feiner’s publicity says: “The name is inspired by the overcrowded and precarious conditions many Londoners now live in… how space to be creative in has become increasingly scarce. (Den-City: say it aloud. Get it? )

“It also reflects the nomadic existence forced on people in the rent sector… and in Hackney Wick’s case how artists are being driven out by the ferocious profit-driven appetite of developers.”

She also sees a “contradiction and tension” when artists have been “making over” an area not previously seen as attractive, “bringing colour and creativity”, then being moved on.

Evicting the very people who have been gentrifying an area for the profit-driven developers. How ungrateful.

Den-City1 will be opened by a self-styled sideshow prankster Honorary Mayor, and will feature an American Indian singer-songwriter and comic Chuquai Billy, the Society For the Preservation of Admirable Rubble and family workshops on the artificial beach by the Lea Navigation.

Rebecca Feiner: spatial awareness (supplied)
Rebecca Feiner: spatial awareness (supplied)

Disabled people may feel excluded from the fun. Feiner explains: “Den-City1 would very much like to be wheelchair-accessible, but at the moment due to lack of funds this is not possible… if a construction company would like to donate us a wheelchair-friendly ramp for the duration of the event we would be delighted.”

Hamish Scott 090615

* DEN-city1, next to H. Forman and Son, Stour Road, Fish Island E3 2NT, Friday 26 June 2015-Sunday 28 June 2015. See website for schedule.

* Backstory: Wicked music; Sexual radical on our Wick 

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained. Most photographs can be visually enlarged by pressing on them.

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