Still

Roelof Bakker, Still, Hornsey Town Hall, 75th anniversary, Crouch End, exhibition, Negative Press London

Roelof Bakker, Still, Hornsey Town Hall, 75th anniversary, Crouch End, exhibition, Negative Press London

Roelof Bakker, Still, Hornsey Town Hall, 75th anniversary, Crouch End, exhibition, Negative Press London

Roelof Bakker, Still, Hornsey Town Hall, 75th anniversary, Crouch End, exhibition, Negative Press London

Roelof Bakker, Still, Hornsey Town Hall, 75th anniversary, Crouch End, exhibition, Negative Press London

C-type prints from Kodak negative, 50cm x 50cm

Still, Hornsey Town Hall Roelof Bakker, exhibition view

Exhibition view, Hornsey Town Hall, 4 November 2010

Exhibition view, Hornsey Town Hall, 4 November 2010

Video still of Helen Kamminga performing on stage at Hornsey Town Hall


Still is a site-specific body of work exploring a multitude of means to breathe life into a dormant vacated public building, combining an artist’s residency, two exhibitions, a video film, a collaborative print publication and a short story competition.

In 2010, Bakker was artist-in-residence at Hornsey Town Hall, a Modernist Grade II listed building not in public use since the mid-1980s, at a time when furniture and archives were being relocated. The silence and stillness of the spaces were recorded on Kodak film, but the deafening silence also evoked a rage within Bakker to re-energise aspects of the building and reintroduce action, and consequently, noise into the rooms.

In the video film ‘Still’ (video, 2011, colour, sound, 13 min., 5 sec.), the Town Hall comes alive again as doors slam and drawers open and close mysteriously, while in the Assembly Hall The Darkened Valley (1920) by John Ireland is played on the original 1935 out-of-tune piano (with thanks to Helen Kamminga).

An exhibition inside the Town Hall opened on 4 November 2010, the Town Hall’s 75th anniversary, the site temporarily regaining its original public function, the exhibition helping create local awareness of the potential of this unused site for future community purposes.

Subsequently, twenty-six international writers were invited to select a photograph from the project and use this as inspiration for new writing. The resulting anthology Still (Negative Press London, 2012), combines short stories with the photographs that were the inspiration.

Contributing writers are Richard Beard, Andrew Blackman, SJ Butler, Myriam Frey, SL Grey, Tania Hershman, James Higgerson, Justin Hill, Nicholas Hogg, Ava Homa, Aamer Hussein, Nina Killham, Deborah Klaassen, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Claire Massey, Jan Van Mersbergen, Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende, James Miller, Mark Piggott, Mary Rechner, David Rose, Nicholas Royle, Preeta Samarasan, Jan Woolf, Evie Wyld and Xu Xi.

The book was launched at the Gallery at Foyles on Charing Cross Road with a reading event and an exhibition in the Gallery and café (18 September-30 October 2012). A Negative Press/Foyles short story competition was won by A.J. Ashworth. Still was runner-up for Best Mixed Anthology at the Saboteur Indy Lit Awards 2013 (April 2013). Nina Killham’s contributing story ‘My Wife, the Hyena’ is included in the annual anthology Best British Short Stories 2013 (Salt Publishing, 2013).

Sara Baume reviewing Still for the Short Review (13 November 2013) writes, ‘This collection is the first print publication by Negative Press London and it sets a high standard for a sort-of new genre. Perhaps for the first time in my life, I just didn’t have the heart to scribble notes or fold the page’s corners down; Still is simply too attractive and unique a book.’

Sunil Chauhan reviewing Still for literary magazine Wasafiri, issue 76 (November 2013) writes, ‘Sharing a tartness of tone, these tales are quizzical, haunting, occasionally abrupt but mostly as teasing as the accompanying images, often concluding with a lingering shot of pain.’

www.neg-press.com/books

 

Still, Negative Press London, 2012, Roelof Bakker

Still, Negative Press London, 2012

Still, Negative Press London, launch Foyles, London, 2012, Evie Wyld, Roelof Bakker

Still launch event at Foyles, London, on 26 September 2012, author Evie Wyld reading ‘Corridor’

Still at Tate Modern, 2012