North East London. Next to the water and a little way from other buildings, there is a house between the Stoke Newington Reservoirs that has this almost mythic quality, of being out-of-place, of living a life apart from the rest of the city. This glass model is part of a series that celebrates and depicts the otherworldly, mystical aspects of this otherwise ordinary-looking house.
I first read about the house in the Quietus magazine. The band Real Lies lived there and are similarly obsessed by it. For them, in some ways, it’s the last house in London. I’ve come to see it as embodying lots of converging stories – about real estate, regeneration, the mythic idea of inspiration, the cult of youth, topophilia (strong feelings towards a specific place), the disappearance of a certain type of London.
The neighbouring Woodberry Down Estate was a post-war utopia of social housing, schools and public facilities (my mum used to work at the health centre). By the 1990s it had become a wilderness of used needles and rats. The good intentions of the 2006 masterplan – which I worked on in my first job – have since been maligned – part of London’s turbid housing crisis. A 3 bed flat is on sale for £945K.
Glass, able to refract and contain light, captures some of the mythic properties of this house, an accidental site of inspiration and transgression. I suppose the sculptures are like crystal elegies, for memorialising this shrine like lipstick traces of poetic oblivion. Or perhaps like cut-glass perfume phials trying to capture an essence before it disappears. Or even, as fragile vitrines, a preservationist attitude to the way that cities change.
In some parts of London the bohemian era seems to have passed. LORDSHIP is a pellucid idol for pilgrims to worship. All must be thinking: LORDSHIP will be ascending soon.