London is a city well-known for resembling a machine. We follow implicit social rules, and it can often feel as if you’re just part of a crowd being dictated to by an invisible controller. It is always a wonder how you could possibly stand out or just feel like you are not part of a giant machine– how do you operate against it? How do you reclaim the space you occupy? In the latest edition of CUB – which is out now – I spoke to third year Drama students Bronwen Davies and Sal Morton all about these ideas, and how they manifested in their video: ‘Reclaim the City.’
The video prominently features skateboarders at the Southbank skate park, many of whom were happy to be filmed and speak to the pair. “They were all really lovely and interested in what we were doing; the idea of featuring skateboarding came from reading we did for class. Skateboarding is interesting because it is not only creative, but physically does reclaim spaces, as the many skateboarders at the Southbank have done, fighting to keep the skate park open”. The skate park is also known for its graffiti, which changes every hour due to the temporary nature of the art. “You finish and other artists will come and spray paint over it with their work”. People are constantly reclaiming their space in different ways- this is only one example of many. Next time you are walking around London I challenge you to look around and mentally note all the other ways people are reclaiming the city. Or maybe think of a new way in which you can make your mark on the city so that it reflects the ‘real’ people that live in London.
Reclaiming the city is all about breaking social norms and taboos and finding space in the city you live in. You can watch the video above.