London, UKAugust 25, 2014
In your city, how can we tell that we are in the year 2014?
It is 2014 if the Shard building is finally completed. There are construction sites everywhere, particularly in the expansion of the City towards the east. It seems that the long-standing warehouses are being converted more and more into commercial multi-story buildings.
What in your city reminds you of the past?
Virtually everything. London is an old city where traces of the past are visible in the everyday. Edifices such as the Templar’s Church, the names of tube stations, and street vendors like the ones selling jellied eels (an East End traditional dish) just to name a few are constant reminders of the past.
Which building or intersection in the city would make us think that we are in the future?
The Thames Barrier in East London, The Shard, and even though it is not a building, walking into the loos at Sketch Restaurant is definitely a space-like experience, maybe retro-futuristic.
Where in your city would be the best place to lose track of time, freeze time, or gain time?
The Natural History Museum.
What song or local band would you recommend for an everyday playlist?
FKA Twigs, Gold Panda, Fuck Buttons, The XX, and a new finding is Shura “Just Once”.
Which museum or cultural space is generally omitted from a typical cultural excursion, but is definitely worth visiting?
The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill and Peckham Rye car park, where ‘Bold Tendencies’, a non-profit project, is based.
In which bookstore can you find new or second-hand publications on art history, exhibition catalogs, or artist monographs?
Walking down Charing Cross Road (and Cecil Court) you can find several second-hand bookshops like Quinto Books, Any Amount of Books, Henry Pordes Books, and so on. Most of these shops have a great range of second-hand books so you need to dig if you are looking for something specific. If you are around the east, Spitalfields Market has antiques and second-hand dealers every Thursday (look for Richy Rich’s stall). Additionally, there is a great list of rare and antiquarian bookshops online at Abebooks.com
What dish most embodies your city, and where would you find it?
A great roast at Roast in Borough Market, fish and chips with mushy peas or fried queenies with tartar sauce at Hawksmoor, or a spicy curry in Bricklane.
Where can you find the best coffee (or tea)?
I actually didn’t drink coffee at all until a couple of years ago but now I’ve gotten really into it. A great place to find good coffee is Monmouth Coffee Company in Borough Market. If you are around north London, then you can go to the Coffee Works Project in Angel. For afternoon tea, The Wolseley on Piccadilly, or Sketch in Mayfair.
What is a monument that reveals a hidden past?
Kew Observatory and obelisks located in Old Deer Park, Richmond. These structures were built by George III, who was an amateur astronomer, in order to observe the transit of Venus on the 3rd of June of 1769.
Outdoor or public artwork worth visiting:
The Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, Richard Serra’s free standing sculpture at Liverpool Street station, and Henry Moore’s ‘Time Life Screen’ on the façade of the Time Life Building in New Bond Street.
Where would be the best place to view the sunset in your city?
The Tate Modern’s top floor terrace, Primrose Hill, or the rooftop at Shoreditch House.
Next Sunday, let’s meet at:
What aspect of your city most inspires you?
In London everything is at hand, all simultaneously happening, coexisting but not quite mixing together. The multi-layered character of the city; not only culture wise, but also the overlapping of times. The hype of a city that outdoors seems in a rush, but can also be quiet and reserved indoors. Being able to see a wide spectrum of shows from the old masters to emerging artists. People seem to live on creativity here.
Where would one probably get lost: geographically, emotionally or historically speaking?
I have to say that without Google maps…anywhere. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been living in London for almost 6 years; if I get out of my usual whereabouts I will simply get lost.
If you were to be commissioned today to create an artwork “about” this city, briefly describe your proposal.
I believe I would propose an artwork that draws upon the multi-layered character of the city, corresponding to my interest in collecting second-hand books; something that became gradually significant to my practice after I moved to London. The proposal could take as a starting point, the short story 'The Book of Sand' by Jorge Luis Borges, where he describes an ancient book of infinite pages that is given to him, in order to reflect upon the overlapping of times, the stratification and ever-changing character of information, and the complexity of some systems within systems.
In doing so, the project could be presented as a video projection on a large paper surface. The video would show a continual movement of a hand swiping sand to clear a see-through surface, in the attempt to see what is underneath. In brief intervals, a boundless sequence of images will partially appear with each hand movement, only to get lost under the grainy covering that conceals it. The resulting video would be reminiscent of the endless passing of the pages of an infinite book, a much larger hypervolume that disturbs our understanding of the limits of time and space.