The Dalston Mill – a windmill appeared in London

Sun 2 August / 6.30pm
EXYZT in Conversation
Nicolas Henninger (EXYZT) and architect/artist Celine Condorelli will discuss ‘pirate architecture’ as the practice of occupying a site, and how the inhabitation of space is a response to existing conditions.

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Yesterday we popped up at  the Dalston Mill to listen EXYZT talk. The Dalston Mill is a temporary installation designed by EXYZT and commissioned by the Barbican gallery for the exhibition Radical Nature.

 

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It is a windmill built with rented scaffolding in an empty and hiding area in Hackney, near Dalston Junction, a close corner, far from the commercial appearance of the surrounding area.

EXYZT in collaboration with Muf architects, obtained a short period planning permission, just 4 weeks, to transform this waste ground  in a bakery laboratory and a multi-use space, with music, dance, theatre and sustainability workshops.

The fully-functioning, 16 metre mill is accompanied by a 20 metre long wheat field, which gives the site a completely distinctive touch.

The idea comes from the work of the environmental artist Agnes Denes in 1982, who planted and harvested 2 acres of wheat by the artist on a landfill in Manhattan’s financial district.

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Yesterday the atmosphere in the Dalston Mill was similar to being in a Sunday countryside party, with a lot of cakes coming out from the bakery, a BBQ,  deckchairs, children running through the wheat field and a Brazilian guy playing the Berimbao. The neighbours community was completely integrate in the event, as Nicolas told during the talk. The closest  shops provided the water connection (maybe because,as Nicolas revealed, nobody in the area pays the bills) and they organized the barbecue spontaneously.

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Many people during the talk asked what will happen to the site at the end of this temporary occupation, but of course there is no way to answer, probably it will return to be as it was before, an illegal scarp-yard. Nicolas explained how difficult is to keep on with this kind of installation, especially because the site belongs to three different owners and a permanent  occupation requires keepers taking care of the maintenance of the site.   

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The doubt is: do we really have to wait for an art institution like the Barbican, to use an empty and wasted space like this? Could  the local council have the ability to organize something similar, in collaboration with the neighbour community?

The Dalston Mill is open to the public everyday 2-10PM until SUNDAY 9TH AUGUST 2009. On Dalston Lane, E8 3DU, LONDON.

You can find more info about the Dalston Mill in:

http://barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=9311

http://www.exyzt.org/

Celine Condorelli’s support structure website:

http://www.supportstructure.org

Silvia Polito

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Space, Form, Words is an initiative started by Silvia Polito, Ciriaco Castro and Enrique Ramos as a multilingual, open canvas for thoughts, images and ideas on architecture, art, design, video, and every sort of creative process in general

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