Ruins, Catharsis and Radical Hope
Of the East Tower's eight artists-in-residence, it was Hilary Powell who responded verbatim to our call for creative destruction. She engaged the help of children equipped with sledgehammers to smash windows, rip up flooring and crowbar apart the shelving on its abandoned floors.
Her work, Multistory, is a dramatic reading of Ted Hughes' Iron Man and is inspired by the format of CBBC's Jackanory, a programme once produced right here in the East Tower's offices. Watch her discuss the piece in the documentary below.
Despite the wreckage, Powell's message is one of radical hope, she says: “It meant a lot for me in this year, 2016, that hasn't been a great year for anything in the world, to work with The Iron Man again.”
Hughes' modern fairy tale is the story of a persecuted iron giant, a sinister cyborg whose fall and rise reverberates with themes of redemption. “Even when he falls, he's re-made, when he's buried, he rises again, and in the end he ends up saving mankind,” she explains.
And the devastation Powell orchestrates in the cause of telling his story is cathartic, creative, and ultimately democratic. As you'll see in her Making of Multistory documentary below, she draws White City residents, BBC employees, construction site workers and neighbourhood children alike into this drama. It's a subversion yet celebration of Jackanory's format: the sound of a single voice, reading.
Keep an eye on Hilary Powell's website for news of screenings of the final film.
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