The Cut: Jessie Brennan, Chris Dorley-Brown and Daniel Lehan
21 Jul - 12 Aug 2011

Artists Jessie BrennanChris Dorley-Brown and Daniel Lehan's works explore personal testimonies and histories of a place at the London’s edge where the Romans settled, the invading Danes raided the Anglo Saxon kingdom, and which fostered inventions in chemicals, dyes and petrol, Bakelite, dry cleaning and many more.

The Hackney Cut is a 3km artificial channel of water that cuts across the marshes in Hackney Wick, east London. It was dug in 1770 as a river canal, avoiding the shoals and bends of the old River Lea and providing much improved navigation.

Today the Hackney Cut is entering a new phase of its history as the area undergoes great changes brought on by Olympic developments and regeneration.

The exhibition was the culmination of a year long project. Local people volunteered to become oral historians to work alongside the artists, recording personal perspectives which are at risk of becoming invisible (or cut) in the regeneration process.

A publication was produced as part of the final outcome, which can be downloaded here

You can listen to excerpts of the oral histories by clicking here.

• Jessie Brennan has constructed a 5metre long pencil drawing inspired by the local stories and memories from the area and presenting the canal as an alternative reality. 
• Chris Dorley-Brown has assembled a collection of historical photographs and documents covering the period from the nineteenth century to the present day, including his own pictures which date from the 1980s.
• Daniel Lehan has produced When Whispers Become Rumours a series of newspaper headlines (inspired by the notion of Chinese Whispers) reporting ‘incidents ‘ in Hackney Wick, and the Map Of The Underground Caves Of Hackney Wick. Daniel Lehan collaborated with 40 children from Gainsborough School.

The Cut was shown at SPACE and is part of the Learning and Participation Programme, which engages artists and communities in creative projects. A publication will be launched alongside the exhibition.

The Cut was also shown at the View Tube, an arts and community resource with the nearest view of the Olympic Stadium, and will be part of the View Tube Art Programme. 

The Cut at SPACE
21st July - 12th August

Preview Wed 20 July
6 - 7pm: The Politics of Place
Writer Ken Worpole in conversation with Dr Toby Butler at 6pm, before the Satellite Projects preview starts at 7pm.
7 - 9pm: Preview continues

The Cut at the View Tube
Thursday 21st July – 18th August 2011 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm)
View Tube
FREE

The exhibition took place during CREATE 2011 (24 June – 25 July), the cultural festival of the Olympic 5 Host Boroughs, Hackney WickED (29 – 31 July), which showcased work coming out of Europe’s most highly concentrated area of artists, and The Shoreditch Festival (16 – 29 July).

Project Overview
The exhibition is the culmination of a year-long project, building on SPACE’s previous Hackney Wick Festival collaborations. Local people volunteered to be trained at SPACE by Dr Toby Butler as oral historians, working alongside the artists and recording a wide range of narratives and personal perspectives that are at risk of becoming invisible in the regeneration process. 

The gathered oral histories will be archived and publicly accessible at The Hackney Museum and SPACE.

The Hackney Cut is a 3km artificial channel of water that cuts across the marshes in Hackney Wick, east London, from Lea Bridge Road in the north to Old Ford Lock in the south. It was dug in 1770 as a river canal, avoiding the shoals and bends of the old River Lea and providing much improved navigation. The area is intrinsically tied to the river canal, supporting a rich industrial, physical and social heritage. Today the Hackney Cut is entering a new phase of its history as the area undergoes great changes brought on by Olympic developments and regeneration. The Old River Lea is now enclosed by the Olympic Site, leaving the Hackney Cut as the only publicly accessible part of the waterway.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with support from The View Tube, and British Waterways and The Waterways Trust.

Contact Fiona Fieber at SPACE: fifi@spacestudios.org.uk or 0208 525 4330