All that Glitters is Gold. 2009
…is a project focussing on a community located in a block of Victorian houses situated in the heart of New Cross, London. The block is owned by Goldsmiths College, who over the last decade have turned a blind eye to a group of artists, fashion designers and activists occupying the buildings, setting up cafés, studios and shops. Eviction of the block has been muted for over a year now, and as it stands, Goldsmiths will be demolishing the buildings in October 2009.
I decided to begin shooting the project as soon as I heard the news that Goldsmiths were pushing to evict the community in late 2007. Eight years ago I was studying at the college, and in my spare time would help organise parties in the buildings and socialise with some of the inhabitants. Prangsta costumiers had been trading for 3 years by then, and by 2004 the community had grown to over 30 inhabitants. Numerous cafes, three clothes shops, and countless gigs and parties have occurred there over the last decade. In its various incarnations, the block has been an influential though controversial part of New Cross.
Goldsmiths College have been trying to obtain planning permission to turn the buildings into campus studios, gallery space and a café for a number of years. The creativity that expresses itself in the spaces has therefore always felt temporary, both due to the fear of eviction and the unpredictable nature of a community in flux. Café Crema and Prangsta are still trading, albeit now as official tenants of the college, and they stand to move on at the end of 2009. Rubbish and Nasty closed down this summer, due to fire and safety worries, and another designer has since moved into a separate shop front.
I sensed the community was about to fragment, and had a strong urge to record the process from the inside in a positive manner before the situation became more complicated. The project represents my personal view of what has occurred there, focussing on how the space reflects the raw creativity of its inhabitants.