Is This a Waste Land?
by Charlotte Spencer
presented by Sadler's Wells
narration Louise Tanoto, Ben Ash
with Kirsty Arnold, Ben Ash, Rachel Lopez de la Nieta, Ben McEwen, Thomas McKeon, Petra Soor
Bridgewater, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park • 17-26.Sep.21
The event takes place in East London at the end of the day, as the sun sets over the City. We're standing in a disused open space, paved over as a car park perhaps for the Olympics nearly a decade ago and abandoned shortly afterwards. And with the construction going on all around the Olympic park in Stratford, it's obvious that developers have their eye on this piece of land, so the chance to roam around it is specific to this time.
Soon things get much more complicated, as we are encouraged to explore areas of interest, to walk in specific directions, spin around and move. Eventually it becomes clear that not all of us are getting the same instructions, as we wave arms to form a smaller tribe that is given a specific job. My team uses found objects to create rope-and-stick fences and to build more elaborate walls. Others are carrying long sticks or constructing towers. As a whole group, we come together and split apart, form a huge circle, lounge on the ground watching a performance above us, walk under a floating sail, and end up with hot chocolate and biscuits around a fire as the darkness creeps over us.
Photos by Pari Naderi and Beth Chalmers • My own pics are in the Instagram post below.