Kay Roberts, Julia Wood, and Marysia Lewandowska; Actualities, Limehouse, London; 30/7/87

Curator Kay Roberts, artist Julia Wood and Marysia Lewandowska discuss the Docklands area where Roberts ran Actualities Gallery for which Wood had undertaken a site specific project. At one time the worlds largest port, in the 1960s the port's activity wound down and for twenty years the area was infamous for unemployment and poverty. The invention of container cargo transportation played a large part in the demise of such docks. The commercial and residential redeveloped in the 1970s and 80s rebranded the area 'Docklands'. This physical and symbolic erasure of history caused controversy among the communities that occupied the area.

Julia Wood took the position of an a outsider to this community, photographing the tenants of a tower block nearby the gallery. Lewandowska and Roberts discuss the position of the artist as anthropological, a participant observer. To what extent should or is the artist engaged in the social context, and the moral implications therein.

The transformation of the landscape from industrial warehouses yuppie apartments is identified as a proliferation of the singular image in a globalised architectural language which has no sense of the local. What will future generations know of the history, industry and poverty of the area? With a long history of immigrants moving through, rather than settling the area could be identified as a transient place. Perhaps the concept of a community is a distant fiction; an imagined community.


Accession No. WAA.051
Artist: Kay Roberts, Julia Wood, and Marysia Lewandowska
Container annotation:
Place/Year: Actualities, Limehouse, London 30/7/87
Type: Private Conversation
Technical aspects: Clear sound
Duration: 42:34:00
Tape capacity: 90'
Tape brand: TDK