FUNGUS PRESS RESIDENCY // LOUISE ASHCROFT // WHOSE CROYTOPIA?
2 Feb – 2 Apr 2019
At sites around Croydon; Turf Projects (Keeley Rd CR0 1TF), Wandle Park, Reeves Corner, Park Hill Park
Humorously reflecting on Croydon’s thirst for regeneration and the resulting rent rises, corporate land grabs, and community displacement, artist Louise Ashcroft has made a series of collages which depict the challenges that face local people at this time of change. The posters feature images found in an aspirational home furnishings catalogue from the 1970s (the height of Croydon’s first shopping and construction boom). These images are given new stories through annotations that speculatively detail the lives of various fictional characters and real public figures involved in Croydon’s current transformation – from the overseas investors and developers, to local residents and newcomers. None of the individuals depicted escape Louise’s satire, but the real subject of critique is the absurdly unequal economic system within which we are all forced to operate. Croydon’s socio-economic ecosystem is a microcosm of advanced capitalism; by mapping it, the posters make global issues relatable through local peoples’ everyday realities. Factual research comes together with playful provocations that aim to entertainingly inform passersby, prompting them to consider their own role in regeneration and question whether a luxury supermall amidst a property gold rush is the best version of Croydon we can come up with. And if, as the posters suggest, this is not utopia, then how might we change policy and protocol so that the people of Croydon benefit more fairly from the area’s growth?
Poster series; ‘Whose Croytopia?‘
Letter and pocket squares; ‘The Gift‘
Keeley Road poster; ‘Rich List Smiles‘
// ABOUT LOUISE ASHCROFT
Louise Ashcroft’s work confronts power systems through humour, play and subversion, often repurposing fragments of evidence she has collected through her fieldwork in urban spaces. She performs on stage and in public sites like shopping centres, streets, trains, and strangers’ homes, and has exhibited widely including at Museum of London Tenderpixel Gallery, Goldsmiths CCA Gallery, The Boring Conference, Latitude Festival, Coastal Currents Festival, Turner Contemporary, Arebyte Gallery, Deptford X Festival, and Artsadmin. She was recently in residence at Tate and Camden Arts Centre, working with schools and families. Louise’s mythologies of The Argos Catalogue and Call Centre culture are available on BBC iPlayer as part of the Boring Talks series.
// ABOUT FUNGUS PRESS
As concerns grow regarding the privatisation of public spaces across London, and elsewhere, Fungus Press invites artists, designers & writers to respond to Croydon’s public spaces through a series of newly commissioned billboard artworks.
Sites include; Wandle Park’s community garden and pond; Park Hill Park’s walled garden; and Reeves Corner. The programme of artworks is complimented by a series of other works, including; published texts, walking tours and an audio guide.
The text-based posters aim to discuss and celebrate the importance and potential of Croydon’s public spaces, offering alternative ways to navigate the area; both geographically and temporally. They speak of Croydon’s untold past and its yet to be written future; reasserting the essential role that green spaces play throughout civic life: from articulating our sense of place, to encouraging democratic engagement.