Now in its fourth year, Hackney Wicked Festival, which took place over the past weekend, saw Hackney Wick once again open its doors to reveal its bizarre, industrial wilderness and showcase the mountains of creativity behind its rusted doors.
It’s becoming all too easy to see the area and its neighbouring Stratford as merely a holding ground for the madness sure to descend on the east with the 2012 Olympics, but its events like this that remind us what its really all about: creativity, boldness, entrepreneurialism from detritus and downright weirdness.
In fact, according to a 2009 survey by MUF Architects, Hackney Wick has more artists per capita than anywhere else in the world, with 624 Studios in Hackney Wick and 1 in 7 people either an artists or arts centre practitioners.
The Hackney Wicked events saw a huge array of open galleries and studios, temporary exhibitions, pop up spaces, site-specific installations and events throughout Hackney Wick and Fish Island.
See Studio played host the Alex Chinneck’s Fighting Fire With Ice Cream, while the wonderful temporary Folly for a Flyover space was showing artist film screenings in its surreal A12 canalside setting.
Alongside more traditional artworks, the event also saw many people falling into water from small boats (all in the name of art of course) , in Harry Meadows’ will be presenting his Coracle Regatta on the canal. The Floating Cinema also sailed in to join the festivities, showing an outdoor screening of locally-shot film by St Etienne the yard of Forman’s Smokehouse.
Among the shows that caught our eye were the stunning photographs by Sarah Roesnik in the Inhabit exhibition; and the peculiar arrangement of pieces on show in the Allotments 2011 show in the Schwartz Gallery, curated by Patrick Michalopoulos and Ismail Erbil.
The project saw the building’s tenants – both artists and not – collaborate on a project in which the gallery was divvied into ‘allotment’ spaces, reconfiguring the room as a ‘“meeting place” questioning notions of curatorial responsibility and artistic pedigree’, so they say.
Amongst the crops were dismantled toys reconstructed as rather frightening sums of each other’s little body parts; and an installation invovlving a can of Special Brew in a jug.
Not one for the faint hearted, Stephanie Hurst’s work in the ]Performance Space[ gallery included a video piece of a woman having a bikini wax, complete with sound. Ouch.
For more information see the Hackney Wicked website