News / Art

Fraser Muggeridge studio designs protest against luxury flat development

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Fraser Muggeridge Studio

Fraser Muggeridge studio has teamed up with curator Clare Carolin and a collective of artists to protest against a planned luxury flat development near the Barbican.

The project is called Spectres of Modernism, and takes the form of an installation of banners bearing protest slogans created by a selection of artists and writers known collectively as Artists Against Overdevelopment: Iain Sinclair, Gavin Turk, Jeremy Deller, Cornelia Parker, Esther Planas, Mark Aerial Waller, Fiona Banner, Deborah Curtis, Adam Dant, Arnaud Desjardin, Margarita Gluzberg, Patrick Goddard, Pippa Henslowe, Stewart Home, Siu Lan Ko, Tom McCarthy, Fraser Muggeridge, Katrina Palmer, Elizabeth Price, Anjalika Sagar – The Otolith Group and Eleanor Vonne Brown.

The banners are currently strung from the balconies of flats in Bowater House in Golden Lane Estate directly opposite Taylor Wimpey’s planned development The Denizen, where they will remain until 10 December. Shouting slogans such as ‘Zombie Investors Take Stock’, ‘Homes for Heroes’, ‘Children need sunlight to grow’ and ‘Parasites will starve in this carcass of culture’, the banners respond to the literal overshadowing by The Denizen of local houses as well as Jewin Welsh Chapel, Fortune Street Park, Richard Cloudesley and Prior Weston Schools and the Golden Lane Children’s Centre.

The development will leave the homes and schools with heavily diminished natural light, while there are plans to demolish 1960 civic modernist building Bernard Morgan House. There is no planned for social housing provision in the new building.

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Fiona Banner: a contraction of the final stanza of the Philip Larkin’s 1967 poem High Windows, seemingly replacing the original’s ambiguous treatment of transcendence with a positive endorsement of inner experience, something that isn’t possible in ‘air-conditioned nightmares’ like The Denizen. As Lautréamont (Isidore Ducasse) noted in Poésies (1870): “Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it. It holds tight an author’s phrase, uses his expressions, eliminates a false idea, and replaces it with the right one.”

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Fraser Muggeridge Studio

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Gavin Turk & Deborah Curtis: Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen development will steal sunlight from 2 schools, the Golden Lane Children’s Centre and Fortune Street Park; as well as plunging into darkness many of the flats the children who use these community assets live in.

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Katrina Palmer: is invoking the 1989 horror movie Society directed by Brian Yuzna; in it the upper classes are aliens who suck the nutrients out of their human victims and they call this shunting.

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Stewart Home (loosely translated): a Bowater House resident liked Stewart Home’s English slogan so much he asked a friend to translate it into Chinese. Since a literal translation didn’t work well, the friend suggested 陰地上的豪宅 or yīn dìshàng de háozhái, meaning ‘mansion on shady land’. The translator said shady in this instance meant haunted and the phrase had an eerie and poetic vibe; it could almost be advertising for a ghost movie. Purchasing a Denizen luxury apartment will haunt you forever!

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Liz Price: has used the title of both a tune and an album by Eddie Harris (1934-1996), the godfather of jazz funk; and one which highlights the fact that both the City of London and Taylor Wimpey have to date turned a deaf ear to the interests of both local residents and those who work in the vicinity of The Denizen site.

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Stewart Home: ghost homes are residential properties which the buyer neither lives in nor rents out, but on which huge profits can be made due to rising housing prices.

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Siu Lan Ko: Marx and Engels often used dialectical reversal to make points and in The Communist Manifesto they state: ‘all that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind’; many now associate the first part of this citation with its reuse in the title of Marshall Berman’s book All That is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity (1982).

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Tom McCarthy: quote from Dante’s Inferno.

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Eleanor Vonne Brown: slogan from luxury apartment hoarding in Haggerston.