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Hopeless Romantics

Event Type: Exhibitions

Event Date: Mon 19 June - Fri 7 July

Event Time: Start Time: 09:00 - End Time: 17:00

by Ioana Tamas

Stephen Lawrence Centre 39 Brookmill Rd, London, SE8 4HU

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Imagined past

Museums are becoming competitors in London’s cultural marketplace. Museums – what do they produce?

They are manufacturers of social and cultural meaning, but the commodity they produce is described differently across time.   The Situationists called this commodity ‘Spectacle’, Umberto Eco named it ‘Hyperreality’ and, finally, Frederic Jameson called it ‘Historicism’ – the latest stage of capitalism, the invasion and restructuring of whole areas of private life, leisure and personal expression. Past styles are ransacked for an idea of the past which exists entirely in the present. The identical copy for which no original existed.  

Museums are becoming centres of production – the creation of a museum from a disused building (i.e. cotton mill) is offered as an investment to regenerate a local economy that has decayed precisely as a result of the closure of the mill/factory.  

The proposal is to embrace London’s former industrial quarters and document their transition. Swapping the shipyards and mills for glistening towers or artist studios, these sites are monuments to the new creative and financial capital of the world . Understood as an open-air museum, London is explored forensically through the eyes of a flaneur, together with reviews visual historical archives. These investigations will be documented through a series of drawings and models, revealing new perspectives on how London sought to reinvent itself and maintain influence in a new modernity. 


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