Balfron Tower: archiving fragments

The conversations recorded in the making of ‘Walking Between Streets in the Sky’ led to shared enthusiasm between several of the book’s recipients for marking Balfron Tower’s half-century milestone in 2018. The outcome is a timely opportunity to exhibit a six-year archiving project. James’s practice-led research can be viewed at Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives in the context of Europe’s biggest annual architecture festival the ‘London Festival of Architecture’ throughout June.

installation view detail

‘Balfron Tower: archiving fragments’ is a methodology as much as an exhibition. A selection of sources are presented in familiar museum cases, as well as above and beyond the traditional remit of the archive: as a wall banner. They are navigable using a free publication which includes a critical essay from writer and curator Owen Hopkins, alongside a commentary by James. Designed by recent LCC graduate Bec Worth, the publication is intended for use onsite and beyond, for as long as it may take. While the exhibition draws on the past, it is very much forward looking. James is concerned with making Balfron Tower, in whatever shape or form, accessible to the children of tomorrow, those who may not be able to afford to live there as he did for 4 years. For those new to the subject, these fragments of an artist’s unofficial archive, set amongst historical materials from the local archives and from further afield, extend the disciplines across which Balfron Tower is discussed, by addressing circles wider than those limited by any specialism.

For the initiated, the exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see what went on inside the walls of a housing complex, from an artist’s point of view. Aimed at a diverse local community as well as visitors from beyond Tower Hamlets, the exhibition is self funded by James and with a small award from the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Student Support Fund. The exhibition hours will extend until 8pm on Thursday 21st June, with a conversation between Owen Hopkins, James and others from 6.30-7.30pm.

wall banner detail

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