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The Clays Lane Archive

The Clays Lane Archive will be at

Supplement Gallery

Opening Reception: Tuesday14th August, 6 – 9 pm
The exhibition is open daily 12 – 6 pm until Sunday 19th,

Bethnal Green Library

Off-site Events Programme 11th-19th August – more details of these events to follow

This presentation of the Clays Lane Live Archive at Supplement and the Bethnal Green Library marks the culmination of a four-year long research project by Adelita Husni-Bey curated into an exhibition and event series by invited Curator Shama Khanna. The archive maps the history of the Clays Lane housing co-operative founded in 1977 and its hasty demolition ahead of the regeneration work planned for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The exhibition is a timely platform for the presentation of materials collected by the former-residents of Clays Lane and Husni-Bey from before and after the eviction process began. The exhibition highlights the disparity between the lives of housing co-op’s residents compared to the weight of power and accompanying rhetoric of ‘faster, stronger, higher’ which arrived in Newham in the form of the Olympic juggernaut. Recalling TS Elliot’s poetry, the language used by the Olympic Development Authority speaks of the site of the Clays Lane estate as ‘a wasteland’ ripe for investment and development. This ideologically undemocratic attitude sets up a hierarchy between the indiscriminate power of capital, and the contributions of a community defined, at best, as invisible.

The exhibition will feature material from the collections of former-residents including; zines and ephemera donated by the band Dead Dog Mountain formed by residents of the co-op in the late 1980s, John Sole’s technical drawings of the Estate made by counting the bricks along each side of the co-op buildings; Julian Cheyne’s minute documentation of the members’ collective challenge to the compulsory purchase order registered in 2007, alongside other ‘Clayslaners’’ personal testimonies filmed by Theo Berton, and a play conceived and acted by Dexter Hanoomansingh (performances will take place at Bethnal Green Library between 11th & 16th August). Seen together as part of the Clays Lane Live Archive these examples constitute acts of resistance which still have relevance as the claims of the Games’ Legacy await to be proven.

Adelita Husni-Bey (1985) is an artist and researcher. After studying Fine Art at Chelsea school of Arts & Design, she obtained an MA in Sociology & Urban Cultures at Goldsmiths University. Her current research involves autonomy, Micro-utopias, pirate-utopias, the ‘Land Issue’, collective memory (the production of), dissent and control, anarchist pedagogy and free-schools. Recent exhibitions and awards include: TRACK- A Contemporary City Conversation, S.M.A.K museum, curated by Mirjam Varadinis and Philippe Van Cauteren, Ghent, Right to Refusal curated by Eva Kraus and Doreen Mende, Magazin4/ Kunstverein Bregenz, Bregenz, A Holiday from Rules by Vincenzo De Bellis, MACRO Museum, Rome. Awards and grants include: British Council Grant for Artists Abroad, Ratti Foundation Residency with Hans Haacke, 2012 Young Collector Prize/ MAXXI Museum acquisition, Rome, Independent Study Program (ISP), Whitney Museum, New York.

Shama Khanna is a curator and writer based in London. Her recent projects include an artists’ film and video programme selected for the LUX / ICA Biennial of Moving Images (London) in May 2012; Brief Habits, a year-long exhibition programme and artists’ film screening series as part of a curatorial residency at E:vent Gallery (London) completed in December 2011 and the group exhibition and performance programme Narcissus Trance, which took place at E:vent Gallery and Spike Island (Bristol) during 2010 – 11. She has written for Frieze and Mousse magazines as well as numerous in-house publications including Site Gallery’s (Sheffield) Platform series, The Conch produced by South London Gallery and Sequence Journal published by No.w.here (London). She is a participant in the 2012 / 2013 CuratorLab at Konstfack, Stockholm

Exhibition and Events

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Filed under: events, housing


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