People’s Bureau is an installation in the Elephant& Castle shopping centre.
Through skill exchanges the project activates individuals from local communities and collaborates with local organisations. The project collects evidence and makes visible the diversity of cultures, skills, networks and resourcefulness present in an area, currently undergoing a large-scale redevelopment that is likely to permanently displace local individuals, traders and organisations.
People’s Bureau is intended as a rallying cry against the crude and merciless logic of corporate capital. It is intended to distill and to highlight:.
1) The role and function of public space and public commons.
2) The capacity of the community to self-organise.
3) Economic alternatives to cycles of consumption and destruction that, through emissions of gases, now threaten the future of life on earth.
People's Bureau is Associate of Tate Exchange and will be based at Tate Modern (January - June2017), hosting a programme of exchanges and public discussions with other Associates and the public around the issues concerned with the ‘foundations of our city’.
People’s Bureau is devised and produced by Eva Sajovic and Rebecca Davies. Their practices as artists centre on social engagement and participation. The People's Bureau has come about from the pair's many years of work in the area, collaboratively and individually – most of which is now represented on this website and under the umbrella of the People’s Bureau.
People’s Bureau has received support from Delancey 2014-2016, Tate Modern and through collaborations with other partners from: Siobhan Davies Studios, ThePeter Minet Trust, Southwark Council, Arts Council England, Entelechy Arts, London College of Communication.
We hoped that working with Delancey would present opportunities for influence. However, some of their more recent actions have caused us to question that position which makes us concerned and in particular we:
· acknowledge the tension between the ‘belief system’ of corporate capital, and the values of social capital and the global commons which underpin the People’s Bureau.
· recognize the risk that in co-operating with a developer such as Delancey (including by receiving funding) we are co-opted to their purposes.
· suspect that Delancey is more concerned with creating the appearance of community engagement and consultation, than with its substance.
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Rebecca: The Elephant is where I was born and grew up. It was my first home, and today I feel the Elephant is who I am. It is where I have worked (and made work about) over the last 8 years. Challenging, tough, and I feel, important work that has affected my whole practice as an artist, working across the UK.
Eva: I moved into the area when I first moved to the UK in 2001 and it is where I still live now. Elephant & Castle shopping centre provided me with a sense of belonging in a community I didn’t have at that point. To better understand this eccentric and vibrant place I started photographing and talking to people I met on a daily basis and that was an opening to becoming part of the community and also to better understand my experience as an immigrant.
THANK YOU to Cate Trejos, Marina Commanduli and LatinAmerican Women's Rights Service, The Rockingham women, ATD 4th World, PaxtonTime Bank, Hourbank Peckham, PARC (Photography Archive Research Centre), Siobhan Davies Dance, Entelechy Arts, Peckham Print, Siriol Davies, Prof.Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, artists Shane Waltener, Rosalie Schweiker, Tal Drori, Saskia Pomeroy, Melanie King, Clare Charles, Corinne Silva, Emma Lofstrom, Morvin Mulgrew; Tate Modern, Mamouska and Bingo for their support with the pilot.
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