The Packington is an extraordinary inner London housing estate twice demolished and rebuilt in less than fifty years. AiR curated a cross generational neighbourhood exchange over two years including a mobile palm tree, a film of residents waving at each other, a sound trolley, a meanwhile gallery in the ex-marketing suite, and monthly performance nights. In conclusion ‘I Can Believe in Things Which are True’ by Dmitri Galitzine, a permanent living artwork co-commissioned with residents, was installed in October 2019.
Some of our questions during this staying: Where are the edges of place in an increasingly digital world? What does this particular local reflect about the bigger picture in times of austerity and Brexit? What happens when art is asked to be a hook for something else?
Made in public in cooperation and collaboration, these artworks were/are things to notice and prompts for unexpected conversations – between neighbours, passers-by, strangers. As the Packington finds new feet, there is an accompanying sense of loss for an old place that is literally and emotionally buried beneath the new. The artists’ processes opened space for the Packington communities to consider this huge moment of change and find individual and collective visibility as the last of the 791 households unpack.
This Packington staying 2018/19 developed from a commission by Hyde Housing to meet a Section 106 condition with support from Arts Council England. Thank you to Pollard Thomas Edwards, Rydon, Cleanscapes, Islington Council, Tintype Gallery, Cubitt, Richard Cloudesley School, ARC Centre, and Pophams Bakery for their generosity. AiR artists at the Packington were Dmitri Galitzine, Claudia Janke, Shepherd Manyika, Ross Belton, Yasmine Yer, Rubie Green, Anna Hart. The White Pube are critics-in residence.