Ben Evans James
film is an architecture

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A Street Loud With Echoes (2019)


A Street Loud With Echoes was the final realisation of a long-term research project into the pioneering work of architecture critic Ian Nairn whose 1955 edition of Architectural Review revolutionised planning policy in the UK. Exploring post-war migration along the Thames, the project navigated along the river taking in the new towns and developments that epitomised post-war planning in the UK.

The exhibition took in three areas along the Thames – Canary Wharf, Thamesmead and Basildon. Each with its own foundation myth, a sense of identity that was constructed through the pencil of the architects and planners of the time who sought to erase old histories and replace them with new ones.

Maeve O’Neill’s large-scale photo collage provided a document of the neoliberal fantasies of Canary Wharf’s architecture while providing a sense of the histories that existed before through its interrogation of the district’s edgelands.

Donald Harding’s film installation, The Marshes, is set across the sprawling Thamesmead estates planned in the 1960’s to house labourers from the old East End. The work uses a horse breed popular amongst the traveller communities who have settled in the area as a way to explore the erasure of histories brought about by the area’s cycles of economic development.

Shaun C Badham’s work revisited the plotlanders in Essex; a radical DIY community who acquired plots of land through auction after the agricultural depression in the late 19th century. In 1949 Basildon was designated as a New Town; an act that led to the compulsory purchase and demolition of the Dunton Plotlands. Today you can still find bricks in the ground, in the form of foundations, boundary walls, wells and other Plotland remnants. The destruction of the tight-knit Plotland communities cemented the reputation of Basildon as the “town built on tears”. Badham’s work brought together a sculptural reconstruction of a plotland residence alongside a separate installation of bricks forged by ex-Plotland communities in Essex.

A Street Loud With Echoes was accompanied by:

  • A publication written and designed by architecture critic Carlos Romo Melgar and Curator and Filmmaker Ben Evans James.
    Click here to read.

  • A Series of workshops with each of the contributing artists. Workshop 1: PLOT: Briquette with Shaun C Badham. Workshop 2: Essex in the 1980’s through film and photography with Maeve O’Neill. Workshop 3: 16mm Black and White Film Workshop with Donald Harding and Ben Evans James 

  • Screening of Nick Abrahams and Jeremy Deller’s film Our Hobby is Depeche Mode

  • A forthcoming podcast created on the site of each artwork

A Street Loud With Echoes was produced in partnership with South Kiosk and The Old Waterworks, Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

South Kiosk and The Old Waterworks 

Curated by Ben Evans James Assisted Dave Charlesworth and Jake Biernat at South Kiosk

Warren Harper at The Old Waterworks

Artists:
Shaun C Badham
Donald Harding
Maeve O’Neill

Jeremy Deller
Nick Abrahams

With thanks:
Carlos Romo-Melgar