To launch their new book Regeneration Songs: Sounds of Investment and Loss from East London editors Alberto Duman, Dan Hancox, Malcolm James and Anna Minton presented papers followed by a conversation between artists Dean Kenning and Jessie Brennan.
The impact of global capital and foreign investment on local communities is being felt in major cities across the world. Since the 2012 Olympics was awarded to the British capital, East London has been at the heart of the largest and most all-encompassing top-down urban regeneration strategy in civic history. At the centre of this has been the local government, Newham Council, and their daring proposal: an 'Arc of Opportunity' for developers to transform 1,412 hectares of Newham. This proposal was outlined in the promotional movie London's Regeneration Supernova shown to foreign developers and businesses at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
While the sweeping changes to East London have been keenly felt by locals, the symbolism and practicalities of these changes – for the local area, and the world alike – are overdue serious investigation. The speakers discuss how places are turned into simple stories for packaged investment opportunities, how people living in those places relate to those stories, and how music and art can render those stories in many different ways.
Music for Masterplanning: The Complete Soundtracks (2016) for which this book also counts as output, was available to view from 3pm. Music for Masterplanning was a project about place, people and music that researched, collected and recorded a compilation of 17 soundtracks for the London’s Regeneration Supernova movie, all made by those who live, work or play within the boundaries of Newham’s 'Arc of Opportunity'. The project was developed in 2016 through a Leverhulme Trust artist in residence scheme at UEL across the Departments of Architecture and Music.
Seen for the first time in its totality, 17 versions of the same promotional movie for Newham’s ‘Arc of Opportunity’ (2010) was screened with the 17 soundtracks composed for the Music for Masterplanning project in 2016.
Alberto Duman is an artist, university lecturer and independent researcher. He is a lecturer in Fine Art at Middlesex University where he teaches Art and Social Practice.
Dan Hancox is a writer on music, gentrification, pop culture and politics, writing for The Guardian and the New York Times amongst others. His books include The Village Against the World (Verso, 2014) and Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime (William Collins, 2018).
Malcolm James is a Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies in the School of Media, Film and Music at the University of Sussex. He is the author of Urban Multiculture: youth, politics and cultural transformation in a global city (Palgrave, 2015).
Anna Minton is a writer, journalist and Reader in Architecture at the University of East London (UEL), where she is Programme Leader of the MRes ‘Reading the Neoliberal City’. She has written two books, Ground Control: Fear and happiness in the twenty-first-century city (Penguin, 2012) and BIG CAPITAL: who is London for? (Penguin, 2017). She is a regular contributor to The Guardian and a frequent broadcaster and conference speaker.
Dean Kenning is an artist and writer. He has exhibited internationally including at the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) London, Greene Naftali, London and BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht. He has published articles in journals including Third Text, Art Monthly and Mute. He is currently a Research Fellow at Kingston School of Art and teaches Fine Art at Central St Martins.
Jessie Brennan is a London-based artist whose practice explores the inter-relations between people and places, informed by their social and political contexts and a direct engagement with the individuals who occupy them. Jessie graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2007. She has exhibited extensively in the UK and Europe, and her work is held in public and private collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Image credit: Fiery pool of Asphalt, courtesy Alberto Duman, 2017
Regeneration Songs: Sounds of Investment and Loss from East London is edited by: Alberto Duman, Dan Hancox, Malcolm James and Anna Minton. Published by Repeater Books
Paperback | 530pp | ISBN: 9781912248230