Investigating the poetics and language of dress in urban youth culture, Lisa Penny’s participation in Kunstraum’s ‘Friends & Neighbours’ will result in the production of a catwalk performance which will be taking place on the Whitecross Street Party (WXSP). The outcome of a series of workshops that Penny has been running for young people at Soapbox – a youth centre on Old Street focused on music production, performance, dance and digital media – Sweats ‘n’ Joggers will feature series of unique garments created by the participants by modifying white sweatshirts and trackpants. Incorporating music performance and dance, Penny’s project will explore the cultural significance of clothing as a means of communication and identification.
Kunstraum‘s Friends & Neighbours is a programme of artist-led workshops for residents of Whitecross Street and the wider EC1 area. Artists Zoe Williams, Lisa Penny, Lindsey Mendick, William Ashcroft & Aisha Bozonga will kick off ‘Friends & Neighbours’ for the Whitecross Street Party 2018 with four major new commissions, which challenge artists to test participatory and socially engaged projects within their broader practice.
Inspired by Kunstraum‘s building’s former function as a community hall, Friends & Neighbours expands beyond the gallery’s walls to test the conditions of accessibility and social potential of contemporary art. The project’s title suggests ‘neighbourliness’ as a model for a non-hierarchical relationship of an art space to its audiences. Standing contrary to stereotypical media depiction of communities who live in social housing, the programme foregrounds residents’ ongoing involvement in cultural life and proposes an alternative to galleries’ role in gentrification and social cleansing.