In the frame of Tanja Ostojić´s “Misplaced Women?” workshop hosted by Live Arts Development Agency London, Camilla Canocchi realised on December 14 2016, a very charming 10 minutes long performance on displacement of nature in the context of gentrification, in the Westfield Shopping Mall, Stratford London. She wrote about it the following:
Misplaced Women?… Misplaced Nature?
I unpacked my backpack at the base of a tree, planted in a flowerbed with fake plants on the top floor of the Westfield shopping mall in Stratford. Among my belongings were five bird whistles I have been working with recently and decided to play them, one by one, while looking at the tree, allowing pauses to hear a reply, which, as I expected, never came.
Call and response: it’s a game we play everyday, trying to communicate with each other, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Being in a foreign country, speaking a different language, trying to connect with people around us – this is something we have all experienced at some point in our lives. When communication fails, it’s easy to feel misplaced, isolated, lonely. Some, like migrants and homeless people, experience this much more often than others.
And then there’s nature. The area of Stratford and its surroundings – where we have toured with Tanja Ostojić and the workshop participants – that has undergone a process of complete gentrification in recent years, mostly as a result of the Olympic Games held there in 2012. The enormous shopping centre, next to the Olympic Stadium with its artificial environment, was built there for this reason. Where is the nature that once belonged there? Where are its inhabitants? Gentrification misplaces people, and nature too.
Camilla Canocchi is a writer and performance artist based in London
Photos: Tanja Ostojić