Saturday 2 August 2014

The Dalston Mill, EXYZT, 15 July 2009

Commission description 
EXYZT aim to challenge the view of architecture as an independent field of practice and ‘conceive and organize each project as a playground in which cultural behaviours and shared stories relate, mix and mingle.’

The Dalston Mill featured a restaging of pioneering environmental artist Agnes Dene's iconic work Wheatfield – A Confrontation, 1982, commissioned by the American Public Art Fund, where she planted and harvested two acres of wheat at the Battery Park landfill site in downtown New York. This act of transplanting rural nature into the heart of an otherwise extremely dense urban environment was EXYZT’s inspiration for The Dalston Mill.

EXYZT installed a functioning windmill capable of producing low-voltage electricity and supplying enough power for an LED lighting system and to grind wheat for some of the flour required by a resident baker to run a bread oven. The mill was located adjacent to a 20 metre-long wheatfield planted for the occasion.
During July and August, a programme of events presented by artists and local arts organisations such as Gahu Dramatic Arts, Arcola Theatre and Artburst transformed this previously neglected, overlooked, wasteland into a highly popular place with local people. The addition of a small bar encouraged people to spend time on this site. The project showed how a small, tranquil semi-rural oasis could be created in the midst of a highly urban space, which at the time was dominated by major construction work.

Read more on the Open City website...

The Dalston Mill was an off-site installation that occurred for three weeks in 2009 in the context of the Barbican Art Gallery exhibition Radical Nature – Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969-2009. A disused railway line and waste ground in the East London suburb of Dalston was transformed into a temporary 16 metre high fully functioning flour mill with a community kitchen and bread oven that was open to the public. The project also included a 20 metre long wheat field, a recreation of the artist Agnes Denes’ Wheatfield – A Confrontation planted in New York in 1982. A series of public programs and events were included in the presentation of The Dalston Mill, including theatrical performances by Arcola Academy, baking and cooking classes, urban sustainability talks, ‘green’ workshops, artist talks and a bike-powered cinema hosted by Magnificent Revolution.



Be utopian !

We want to build new worlds where fiction is reality and games are new rules for democracy. If space is made by dynamics of exchange, then everybody can be the architects of our world and encourage creativity, reflexion and to renew social behaviours.

Experiment !

Architecture can expand into a multidisciplinary game where everyone brings his own tools and knowledge to contribute to a collective piece. We do refuse to enter the current architectural practice which serve the building industry. We do deal with the reality of construction. We design, build and live our constructions and host the freedom for visitors to appropriate our projects. We produce an open source architecture that offer an access to basic public amenities and a place for exchange : A physical framework for a direct and immediate emulation between people and space. We wish to incite anyone to re appropriate and get involved with his own social and physical environment.

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