The Dalston Mill is the story of discovering a piece of land in the east of London and the confrontation with a project of artist Agnès Denes, called ” wheat field – a confrontation”.
Commissioned by Barbican Gallery to realize an in situ intervention in relation to the “radical nature” exhibition in the Barbican Centre, London, we explored locations in the peripheries of the city where the transformations are most frenetic. Dalston, being one of the districts of Hackney which accommodates in 2012 the Olympic Games, is from then on confronted with big building interventions such as the extension of the subway and a devouring real estate speculation.
Just in front of these titanic construction sites and in the middle of a housing block partly in ruins, it’s on an unused railway line “called the eastern curve” taken over by the nature, where the artist Agnes Denes installed the wheat field. We decided to create in an almost literal dialogue with the artist’s piece a mill.
The mill invites to take over this forlorn site by the people and fill the place temporary with public life.
The Dalston Mill was established within the entry of the site, seeking the link with the street through a tunnel perforating a ruined hut. The visitor discovered the heart of the mill, where the millstones are driven by the turbine installed in 16 meters height. Here grain was grind to flour and a battery is charged through a transmission and a former car alternator. The bakery installed in the entrance was equipped with two wood-burning stoves to the disposal of all visitors wishing to make their own pizza or bread.
Passing the heart of the mill the view at the wheat field opened up a country site like impression in the middle of the city.
During 4 weeks, the site of the Dalston Mill hosted many events, established links with a cosmopolitan community which came here to find refuge, cook, to perforate, to play music, to discuss transformation of the district, to speak about urban agriculture and to meet up.
Until: August 9, 2009
Image Credits: EXYZT/ Brice Pelleschi/ Eliot Wyman