A project which was initially conjured in 2011, with support of the Legacy List and Bloomberg, this year, on the 25th July, 2013 UP projects launched a brand new Floating Cinema @The White Building in Hackney Wick. Designed by Duggan Morris Architects and working in partnership with artists and filmmakers Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie (aka Somewhere), the cinema features a new “Extra-Ordinary” programme of outdoor screenings, canal tours, workshops and events now sailing for the remainder of the summer along the waterways of East London and beyond.
Conceived as a collection of extraordinary cargoes placed atop a traditional-style industrial canal barge, Duggan Morris Architects design for the new floating cinema was selected through an international open competition. Following a nine month development phase, the brand new boat has been built by a specialist team at Turks, Boatyard in Chatham, Kent. A high end visual audio system has been developed by the Useful Arts Organization specifically for the Floating Cinema which include facilities to broadcast events live from the boat via the floating Cinema website. With environmental sustainability in mind, a unique “hybrid” engine system has been integrated, to provide boat propulsion and power for the A/V kit which runs on biofuel.
Eccentric, bombastic, and wildly idiosyncratic I couldn’t wait to venture to one of the few hidden pockets in this metropolitan, and often pretentiously passive city of London. A portal where tattooed skateboarders, cyclists, and cool smiles from rising artists of all shades are welcomed and where high hopes to make it in their creative field are both graciously supported and offered.
My destination: The floating cinematic boat, which was waiting at the docks of ‘The White Building‘ located in North East London in the heart of Hackney Wick. Situated on the blue green algae filled canals, which are dotted with buttons of lily pads of all assortalking through a charming iron gate, past open aired garages, while zig zagging through bouquets of group conversations where graffiti murals played as backdrops, I immediately felt a sigh of relief from having escaped the bustling central London streets. Soothing canals, beer, pizza, and movies on boats!? Oh Hackney Wick and Floating Cinema 2013, you will forever have my heart.
‘To the water’ was my mental mantra and I soon saw the White building jutting out like a sore thumb amongst the historical brick structures and high chimneys which could be seen for city blocks. Making my way around to the back I was greeted with lined picnic tables filled with pizza eating hipsters, late afternoon sun splotched brick pavements, supa doopa cool stylish dresses, hair-dos, smiles, and of course: the BOAT.
As I exchanged hugs, hellos, and double- sided cheek kisses with some of the top knotch characters in the London art scene, we soon boarded the ship to find out more about the Floating Cinema. Stepping downstairs, there were carefully placed rows of chairs, designed by Arper and with curtains of a shaded pastel pink drawn, the small crowd (less than a dozen) were enticed to settle up of for the show.
Conceived as a collection of extraordinary cargoes placed atop a traditional-style industrial canal barge, Duggan Morris Architects design for the new floating cinema was selected through an international open competition. Following a nine month development phase, the brand new boat has been built by a specialist team at Turks, Boatyard in Chatham, Kent. A high end visual audio system has been developed by the Useful Arts Organization specifically for the Floating Cinema which include facilities to broadcast events live from the boat via the floating Cinema website. With environmental sustainability in mind, a unique “hybrid” engine system has been integrated, to provide boat propulsion and power for the A/V kit which runs on biofuel. So cool right? Hats off to these artistic and creative engineers and builders- I truly believe the stars fall in line with each other to form a smile in the sky when art and science unite for all the right purposes.
With a 10 week programme of over 20 free and ticketed events, the floating cinema will host a variety of intimate on board screenings, large scale outdoor films for bank side audiences; plus floating tours of the waterways, talks, and an education project working with local communities. There is something for everyone, with content ranging from live comedy, to a horror weekender, industrial history tours, fancy dress, outdoor screenings, archaeology, science and live chat shows that delve into the peculiarities of East London life.
Throughout the evening spectators were offered the opportunity (about 15 @ a time) to step onboard and have a taste of what Floating Cinema 2013 will be bringing to the movie screens for the remainder of the summer by previewing an assortment of short, yet concise and captivating films. I received the chance to view ‘It’s the Skin You’re In’ made by the crew Fevered Sleep. It’s the Skin You’re Living In is a multi-format film project, that explores and challenges images of climate change. Shot in a series of locations from the islands of Svalbard in the High Arctic to a kitchen in a house in London – via the beaches and headlands of Barra and Vatersay in the Outer Hebrides, the M11 motorway, a dairy farm in Bedfordshire and the outskirts of Hackney and the Olympic Park – the project suggests that climate change isn’t a matter just concerning distant landscapes and threatened animals, but is an ever present part of everyone’s daily lives. Stunningly simple while embodying all aspects of streamlined editing, this film perfectly captured the essence of the enlightening evening and remained in complete parallel with both the enticing moonlit atmosphere and it’s accompanying cast of characters.
“We wanted this year’s programme to say that it’s London’s ordinary people that make its culture so extraordinary, and to spotlight some of those people and what they do in life, as well as to make sure they are at the heart of the programme as an active audience. The Extra-Ordinary theme offers a celebration of the overlooked and ‘ordinary’ in life, and brings to the fore the brilliance to be found on our doorstep.” Somewhere 2013
Don’t let this floating cinema pass you by this Summer as I am confident that no matter which dock this enchanting vessel pulls up to, you will not be let down! So, step up and take a voyage towards supporting all of what the UP project and it’s clever and creative affiliates have to offer!
For a full list of the Floating Cinema’s summer events: www.floatingcinema.info
For more info on UP Projects: www.upprojects.com
For more info on Nina Pope and Karen Gunthrie (Somewhere) :www.somewhere.org.uk
For more info on Fevered Sleep and the movie I watched:www.feveredsleep.co.uk
For more info on Duggan Morris Architects: dugganmorrisarchitects.com
For more info on Turks Shipyard: www.turksshipyard.co.uk
For more info on the Legacy List: www.thelegacylist.org.uk
For more about the ‘crazy comfortable’ Arper Chairs: www.arper.com
For more info on Crate Brewery: www.cratebrewery.com
For more info on Schwartz Gallery just situated just around the corner from the White Building: www.schwartzgallery.co.uk
Also! You should check out the Hackney Wicked Art Festival taking place the 16th through the 18th of August: www.hackneywicked.co.uk/
So many links, I know! But check this video out the hilarious Andy Sandberg Video ‘I’m on a Boat’ for a good laugh. V funny and I must admit, pathetically American.