Slice Project- process

Statue of kindertransport children in hope square london

Present Attempt are making a piece of work as part of SLICE,  an international project commissioning twenty new artworks created in collaboration with UK and Pakistani artists. SLICE maps an imaginary line that cuts through buildings and across streets from Lahore to London. Focusing on the first mile at each end of the line, which runs from Lahore Central Station to Liverpool Street Station in London, Lahore and London based artists have been invited to make a work that responds to a location on the slice.

Back in May all the artists in London walked the section of the Slice which started in Hope Square just outside Liverpool Street Station and ended beyond the Brady Centre in the East End. Early on from a suggestion James made, we decided to response to Hope Square. Initially what struck James was the contrast between the busy place of passage and the immobility and stillness of the bronze statue of  the Kinder transport found in the square, a memorial to Jewish refugees of the second world war. Since the walk we have found that the site resonates with the context of the project in multiple ways. It made us think about to the state of emergency of contemporary cities, travels between London and Lahore, perception of everyday places or spaces and the possibility of looking at a place anew, with a naïve eye, as if you were seeing it for the first time.

We have now spent a couple of days working in Hope Square. After repeated visits we can ironically say that it is hopeless and a terrible place! There is something definitely tragic about the square. 6 giant ugly white pillars dominate it, with a McDonalds covering one of it’s facades and franchises setting up their pop up stalls and marquis to sell commercial products of various kinds right in the middle. The square, more a place of passage for commuters than a place where people hang out is littered with fast food waste. And then the statue of the Kindertransport in the middle of all this, erected in memory of the refugee children who came to Britain in search of a safe haven. The whole thing is rather paradoxical. This paradox, the gap between the name ‘Hope Square’ and the actual place which is devoid of anything really positive is guiding our thinking.

Yesterday we went back to Hope Square to further our investigations through in situ writing and filming. We have come back to our earlier intuition about building a picture of ‘Hope Square’, settling on writing to reveal and approach the paradox of Hope Square. A textual depiction of Hope Square is what has emerged out of the work yesterday, it remains to be seen how this text will manifest in its final visual form. Looking forward to sharing the final piece which will form part of an exhibition in Ideas Store Whitechapel, Rich Mix in Bethnal Green and the National College of Arts in Lahore. To be continued…

  • Present Attempt is a collective of artists making experimental theatre, performance and live art. We like now...