In Elmington Estate, Camberwell, near the South London Gallery, there is a neglected space with a boarded-up gate. It can only be entered by climbing over a wall. In contrast to the surrounding grounds, which are well maintained and regulated, this space, covering just a few square meters, has grown into a wild, ‘unscripted’ zone.
Through a series of visits with select residents, collaborators and guests, collaborative practice They Are Here developed a series of social and ecological interventions, adding a new layer of narrative to the site from April to October 2015. At the same time, they maintained its hiddenness and recognised its usage by children and teenage residents after dark.
In parallel to this activity, They Are Here developed a new work called Location Scouts, that took the form of a site-specific game for residents of Sceaux Gardens. Through these games, They Are Here created ephemeral systems and temporary micro-communities that offered an alternate means of engaging with a situation, history or ideology.
This residency is part of Play Local, a long-term project exploring children’s play in relation to contemporary art across five housing estates within walking distance of the SLG.
They Are Here was steered by Helen Walker and Harun Morrison, the duo is based in Birmingham and London. Their work ranges from situation-specific projects that develop across multi-year encounters, to games that can be played by incidental or invited participants. They work across media and types of site, particularly online and civic spaces. Institutions they have developed or presented work include: Camden Arts Centre, CCA Glasgow, Chisenhale Gallery, Grand Union (Birmingham), LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre), New Art Gallery Walsall, National Theatre Studio, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, South London Gallery, STUK (Leuven, Belgium), wpZimmer (Antwerp, Belgium), VIVID Projects (Birmingham) and Whitechapel Gallery.