Sunday, 6 March 2016

Swords into Plowshares: Charlie

Many people who rent in London (and beyond) would love the opportunity to grow their own vegetables, fruit, herbs or just some flowers. For most of them though, that feels impossible because of the insecurity they experience in their rented homes. The people at fault for this are not tenants, it is landlords and their parasitic estate agents who are in the business of raising rents as much as they can, as often as they can.

Swords into Plowshares is a project that began in 2015 as part of an exhibition about housing in East London. After learning how to use a lathe, I decided I wanted to make dibbers out of the posts that hold estate agent signs. I saw the abundance of these as a symbol of how quickly my neighbourhood was changing and the anxiety/instability this creates that prevents people from putting down roots. Think of it as an oral history of estate agent fuckery.

Charlie used to be my neighbour. She had a pretty awful buy-to-let landlord when she lived down the road from me. But the story she chose to tell in exchange for her dibber was from before I knew her and is far more uplifting. I think it's a great introduction to this project. Have a listen.

Do you have a story of estate/letting agent woes? Maybe they stole your fees, or your deposit, or just engineered you out of your home because someone else was willing to pay more rent than you. Get in touch if you have a story to share in exchange for a little extra encouragement to grow something - even if you understandably decide to keep it in a pot. Write a comment below or contact me.

No comments: