Driving around where the crescents used to be. A script, 2015
HD-Video, 15m 7s
A short, essayistic palimpsest, which meanders through the history of a neighborhood in Manchester, UK.
Taking cues from a diverse set of sources ranging from 1960s British cartoons and 1980s crime serials to Foucault’s Surveiller et punir, Driving around (…) presents a highly subjective account of an inquiry into the historiography of architecture and the politics of popular music.
In the early 1970s construction began on the Hulme Crescents, a complex of 4 half-moon-shaped brutalist deck-access high-rises, surrounded by smaller but widespread deck-access blocks which were colloquially known as Legoland or Inca Dwellings.
The development (a social housing estate) was soon after its opening in 1972 known to be haunted by problems such as construction errors, improper and costly heating, unsafe architecture prone to accidents and its inhabitants vulnerability to crime. After the complex was abandoned by the city council in 1984, the crescents morphed into a huge urban squat – a temporary autonomous zone which was home to punks, new age travelers and the acid house party scene.
After the 1981 riots in many major UK cities, the right-wing British government under Margaret Thatcher devised plans to redevelop troublesome estates across the country. The bulldozers moved in in the early 1990s and Hulme was subsequently razed and constructed anew for the second time in 40 years. Today, home to a campus of Manchester Metropolitan University and many student halls, it shows almost no trace of its former superstructure and inhabitants.
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