Monday, 15 September 2014

High society

An east London high-rise resident has honoured his home by turning it into art

On a cold evening at the end of last month, residents of The Balfron Tower in Tower Hamlets, east London, took part in an art project of one of their neighbours, artist Simon Terrill.

Mr Terrill, who has been creating large-scale photographs of people from around the world as part of his ‘Crowd Theory’ project, decided his home, on the 25th floor of the Poplar Harca-owned 1960s tower block, seemed like an ideal setting, in which to add to his body of work.

On the evening of 18 November, he set the scene with flood lights, placed a camera on the roof of a neighbouring high-rise building and played a soundtrack at full blast. He then asked residents to come to their balconies or windows, or gather in front of the building, to have their pictures taken.

Mr Terrill who directed proceedings from the ground by megaphone, let residents know when each of 10 photographs were to be taken.

Some households waved and shouted from their balconies. Others held up unusual objects for each shot. One woman stood quietly on her own throughout proceedings, occasionally beckoning her cat to appear in the photographs with her.

Some of the residents of Balfron’s 147 flats, including the couple pictured, got their Christmas lights out early for the event.

Keith White, a resident who has lived there for 31 years, says the photo shoot acknowledged ‘the people living in Balfron Tower not just the building’. ‘It’s a chance to show why Balfron Tower is such a unique place to live, and challenges the perceptions of an inner city tower block.’

A mural-sized photographic image of the event will be exhibited at the Nunnery on Bow Road in January.

The Balfron project is supported by Bow Arts Trust, Poplar Harca and the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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