We are delighted to be working with those ‘cunning folk’ max+noa (formerly known as Sheaf+Barley) on a residency and a new commission – two participatory projects that respond to LADA’s East London homes past and present.
In September 2017 LADA moved from Hackney Wick to The Garrett Centre in Bethnal Green. To support our relocation to a new neighbourhood and the next chapter in our history, as well as exploring ideas for new ways of working at our new home, and testing new approaches to engaging with local people, we have invited max+noa to undertake a residency with us, and commissioned them to create a project that responds to the physical, cultural and social context of The Garrett Centre.
Max + Noa – In Residence
In Spring 2018 max+noa will undertake a ‘pilgrimage’ to the different spaces LADA has inhabited since 1999, gather plants from those sites to replant at The Garrett Centre, and in the process think about the psychic ‘leftovers’ of LADA’s former homes and how we carry these histories. To mark the end of their ‘pilgrimage’ they created a public event, Weeding, inviting people to come to The Garret Centre with a plant of their own, making a tapestry of people who make LADA together in the form of a living and growing ‘archive’.
Max + Noa – The Garrett Centre Commission 2018
Max + Noa undertook LADA’s first Garrett Centre commission, which originally saw them developing a collaborative project creating stained glass windows, but subsequently lead to a strong and ongoing collaboration with Simple Gifts, a social action organisation also based at The Garrett Centre, running art classes with local kids and lunches with local residents.
“How can people tear the right to inscribe public space away from the powerful? Across London people are evicted from their homes as land is extracted into private hands through a process of state-supported gentrification. Public art masquerades as a way of ‘giving back to the local communities’ as it quietly allows gentrification to continue unabated.
LADA has just moved into a former church space on Mansford Street. max+noa want to invite people on Mansford Street to author stained glass windows using LADA as a base. Stained glass windows have long been the expression of ruling class Christian power in Europe, but this language can be hijacked and remade with the images chosen by those living around The Garret Centre. The windows will literally set the people who have shaped it into the space of the street, a sign saying ‘we are here’. We will facilitate a process where the resources of LADA become accessible to the people who live around it, where art-making is not an elitist process hand-in-hand with a process of gentrification, and where privatised public space can be written upon and made communal through something that is somehow powerful and beautiful”. max+noa
max+noa think belief is a radical act, and that to interrupt hegemony we must be in a constant state of uprising. They see much of their work as telling stories and creating spaces where stories can be told and exchanged, temporary spaces of comfort and stability in a world that is otherwise in freefall. They cobble together ways of being in the world responding to now and directed towards the future, a direct response to the forced existence of precarity and self-isolation which is being violently exported across the globe. Through a mixture of research, action, and belief, max+noa create a set of tools that can be used by themselves and others. The work produced is a public sharing of this continually developing tool-making, made in dialogue with everyone who comes into contact with it. Everybody can be cunning folk.
The Garrett Centre Commission has been supported by The Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme, an innovative four year collaborative arts programme co funded by the European Union
Banner image credit:
Photo credit: Dan Johannsen
A transnational partnership on collaborative arts funded by Creative Europe, 2014-18
Hari Byles and Katherine McMahon are the second recipients of the annual Garrett Centre commission, for their project ‘Earthlings’.Read more