Archive Page 2


The King’s Land as site specific art

Council housing, ruin value and the King’s Land project – article byGillian McIver /Luna Nera

Link to article:

working on the king's land ...


the Art and the Estate

A very interesting article in THE QUIETUS about council estate housing and art:

On Damon Albarn’s use of the Trellick Tower as a video location:

“There is a sense of class tourism in the new enthusiasm for the Trellick. The image of hip new residents quietly congratulating themselves on their taste for grit is inescapable. It is fitting, then, that Albarn, one of the country’s wealthiest musicians, returned in 2007 with his band The Good, The Bad & The Queen, to shoot the video for ‘Kingdom Of Doom’ – a promo that consists entirely of visual synonyms for ‘working class’. Albarn makes a fry up for his bandmates on a small gas stove; Simon Tong washes tea mugs in the sink; Paul Simonon and Tony Allen play dominoes on the kitchen table. A grey pall covers everything. Albarn sings the first line as the camera flies in through the window: “Friday night in the kingdom of doom.” It is the doom-laden history of the Trellick on which Albarn draws – a history that he, of course, was never forced to live. “

THE KING’S LAND project of site specific murals on a semi derelict estate is an interesting alternative to the normative perspective of the appearance of council housing in culture. Instead of artists coming to the estate to make art, the artists are already there, they live and work there and are part of the process of regeneration.

Nazir Tanbouli says “I am not one of those who have  fetish about old buildings … I want everyone here to get a new flat, to have better housing. But while these buildings are ugly, I want to work on then –  I take that as an artistic challenge.”

This is a key point. Site specificity should not fetishize the site. Especially if the site is, as usual, contested. Working class people’s homes are not middle class fetishes. Investigate, yes, fetishize, no. It can be a fine line, but one well worth observing.

bricked up

mural artist Nazir Tanbouli with one of the murals

pigeon conference

this is the 'hood, winter morning. Not very scary.

yes it can be dodgy; this happened nearby

there is more than one way to see council housing: "I am here" by fugitive images


documenting site specific art

A 22 minute film about the mural project THE KING’S LAND

In documenting site specific art it’s worthwhile to consider looking at the environment, the art, the artist and the people that are in the locality.

King’s Land new website and FB page

hi all, if you are interested in following the KING’S LAND site specfic mural project, there is a new web page at :

and a Facebook page you can “like” and get regular updates and offer your comment etc.


the use and abuse of urban ruins

interesting that this has become contentious:

The article in Icon looks interesting; I’ve never read Icon; I’ll have to look for a copy.


“The King’s Land” site specific murals

Having worked on many site specific projects over the years, as artist and as curator and as documenter, The King’s Land is one of the most interesting. The premise is simple: cover a semi derelict housing estate that is soon to be demolished but is still inhabited, with murals. Murals made using a simple drawing / collaging process (though the drawings themselves are complex) , designed to organically fit into or seem to emanate from the buildings, not garish, imposed pictures. The artist, Nazir Tanbouli says “I want the murals to grow on these walls like some kind of arty fungus”.

There are 5 murals up on the estate now. You can follow the blog of the project on

Tanbouli notes that he is not interested in “fetishizing” the buildings. Only people that have never lived in this kind of place can do that. They need to come down. yes, they have a history, as a relic of a time when people believed in a certain model of public housing and so on, but at the same time, they are not really habitable anymore. People deserve better homes At the same time, let us use art to mark their passing instead of have them just disappear one day. Let’s get people to actually LOOK at them once more. Art can help us to  see.



Activation of space: Mavili collective, Athens

In November 2011 the Athenian Mavili Collective occupied the historical disused theatre building of Embros in the city, which was deserted and had been left empty for years. The group aimed to “re-activate this space temporarily… and propose an alternative model of collective management and new contemporary forms of creative work”.

It is interesting that severe economic and political dislocation has begun to give rise to his kind of  action. What is interesting about the Mavili Collective, and seems to differentiate them from the UK/US “Occupy” movement, is that they address directly the role of cultural practice – art making and distributing – as a political act, rather than a fringe or side show of political discourse.

In their manifesto, they say that they “came together in order to re-think and re-imagine the current Greek cultural landscape and propose structures, platforms collaborations, projects that produce new alternatives.” It’ll be interesting to see what they manage to make out of this experience.