Translating Spaces, 2014

Translating Spaces, 2014

Translating Spaces was a project with inhabitants from Drapers City Foyer in Bethnal Green, East London.  Drapers City Foyer is a place that offers supported accommodation for young Londoners aged 15-23 who need the support to enable them to get their lives back on track and move on to independent living.  

The aim of the project was to explore the place where the young people live and take the building as a starting point for a visual journey.  Using animation and photography, the participants investigated the Drapers building, exploring its visual language and the inpiduals’ identity within this place. They used materials and form they found there as building blocks and translated this information into new works of art or versions of this environment, exploring ideas related to place and ideas of living and dwelling in contemporary Britain. 

One of the main ideas they explored during the project, was the idea of 'translation', not in the traditional sense where one language is translated into another, but rather in an intuitive process led manner where they let the physical environment direct their ideas and where the works became curious and investigative visual translations of the environment, making visible otherwise overlooked qualities of this place. 

Suggestion was also something which the participants explored in many variations, looking at how an almost abstract form can suggest the idea of shelter as well as being just a collection of lines.  They worked with drawing in many different experimental ways, drawing with line three-dimensionally in space as well as drawing with water on a large scale within the environment.  Drawing was also the basis for most of the films as they used it as a way to document and investigate the place, these drawings became the foundation and the raw material for the works. 

Thinking through making, directed most of the works and the participants let the materials form their ideas, responding in an open way.  This process-led investigation was essential for all the works as they became documents of a process, capturing the creation of an artwork over time.  Time was important and seems an essential subject for all the participants who are living in temporary accommodation for an unknown duration.  Working with animation, all the works are time based but they also explored this idea consciously, letting the works document and capture a process and a series of artistic decisions made over a period of time.

The project was commissioned by HS Projects and funded under the Insight Community Arts Programme.