Portavilion is one of the most ambitious contemporary art projects to take place in London's public realm. Curated by Emma Underhill of up projects, it launched in 2008 with four temporary pavilions by internationally renowned artists (Dan Graham, Annika Eriksson, Toby Paterson and Monika Sosnowska) in some of London’s most popular parks. In 2010, raumlaborberlin developed a mobile, inflatable pavilion that toured thirteen London parks and public spaces presenting a diverse programme of cultural events and activities produced in partnership with some of London’s leading cultural organisations. This ongoing project explores the possibilities for temporary, large scale public art, and is as much a celebration of the city's most treasured open spaces as it is a cultural event.
For 2011, the Floating Cinema with Somewhere and Studio Weave takes the project into a new, water based territory.
The Floating Cinema
The Floating Cinema is developed by artists Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie (known collectively as Somewhere), and designed by Hackney based architects Studio Weave, to navigate the waterways of the five Olympic host boroughs during the summer 2011. This extraordinary floating structure will accommodate intimate on-board film screenings, larger outdoor film events and provide a base for film related activities led by Pope and Guthrie.
Somewhere produce ambitious, innovative and challenging projects spanning film, the web, installation, live events and public art. They will be spending time with the many communities connected to the canals to develop a project aboard The Floating Cinema that seeks to gauge a 'human blueprint' of the waterways and connections to the Olympic Park and Games.
Studio Weave is an energetic young design practice working on art and architecture commissions across the country. Their designs play into and explore the quirky and eccentric characteristics that make places distinctive, and they will bring this approach to the design of The Floating Cinema.
Portavilion 2011 will form an important strand of the cultural participation programme in the lead up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will form part of the Create 11 summer festival, is commissioned by The Olympic Delivery Authority as part of their Arts and Cultural Strategy and funded by Arts Council England.
Portavilion Curator, Emma Underhill said:
“Portavilion is a mobile, expanding public art project and we are delighted to have the opportunity to develop the sixth commission in the series, this time for East London’s waterways, with Somewhere and Studio Weave. The canals and rivers provide a very tangible connection running through the five Olympic boroughs and into the Olympic Park itself, and offer a rich environment for The Floating Cinema to navigate.”
The brief to the artists participating in Portavilion is not prescriptive, but through the diversity of their approaches and their responses to the parks, greenspaces and now waterways, the following themes have emerged:
>> INSPIRATION - artworks that are stimulating and thought provoking.
>> CONNECTION - creating a sense of identity and connecting different public spaces across the city
>> RECREATION - artworks that are fun, interactive, pleasurable - creating places to meet, talk, play.
>> ENVIRONMENT - acknowledging the importance of urban open space and its impact on the quality of urban life
The Floating Cinema route
The Floating Cinema will navigate the waterways that connect the boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest and Hackney with the new Olympic Park, hosting events, activities and also tours into the Olympic Park.