For this year’s Whitecross Street Party (WXSP) Zoe Williams and Deniz Unal’s massive food installation and communal eating area playfully reflects on the relationship between food and rituals, where notions of excess, expenditure and eroticism intertwine. Through a collaborative process involving the participation of EC1 residents in collective baking, drawing and ceramic making, the installation will be the centrepiece of a traditional tea party, which has its roots in the local area with the ‘Peace Parties’ following WWI.
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.