Celebration

A short film celebrating the urbanism and architecture of Robin Hood Gardens housing estate in London, before its demolition.

 

This film is a simple celebration of the building itself. I did not want to make a comment on the politics of its history, design or imminent destruction. The film just responds to the building's form, materiality and presence in this part of London. The initial insipiration for the film was a scene from the 1991 film Les Amants du Pont-Neufs (Leon Carax) in which the main characters dance on the bridge, whilst fireworks explode around them, and in the distance across the Seine. I have always considered this to be a wonderful homage to an urban space - the use of dance creates a physical presence that interacts with the space that not many other art forms can match. Movement, touch, expression and reaction.

 

For the film, I enlisted the help of a classically trained Indian kathak dancer, Manuela Benini. Her task would be to respond to the urban condition of the housing estate, creating her own choreography in the different spaces she encounters, as a personal response to the building. As a performer, she is particularly interested in the process of interacting with challenging environments - she has performed in the urban slums of India, and has been involved with community dance projects in London and Brazil for more than fifteen years.

 

The film ends with the credits rolling over fireworks being let of from the public space in the middle of the estate. Am obvious cultural device for denoting celebration, and an apt ending for the film. 

(2015).