[THIS WEEK] Travelling cinemas have come to London’s canals, writes James Pallister
Since 2008, UP Projects has toured its annual ‘Portavilion’ around London’s parks and places of learning, its itinerant lifestyle fitting UP Projects’ remit to build a gallery without walls.
Last year’s ‘Portavilion’ was a trio of linked inflatable domes designed by Raumlabor in which lectures and talks took place.The transparent structure ballooned from the back of a caravan, which served as the entrance to the pavilion and housed the generator which kept the structure turgid.
The result was a jolly, eccentric structure that nodded to Buckminster Fuller. Inside, however, it was not a pleasant place to be. As users of bouncy-castles will know, inflatable structures and breathable membranes don’t mix well. Add in a hundred or so visitors and the result is an icky over-familiarity with condensation and other people’s emissions.
This year’s pavilion, opening 1 July, sits on a customised narrowboat. It won’t have to weather the high seas as its route will be around the canals close to the Docklands area of east London, part of a place-making process to bring people into the Olympic environs.
Architect Studio Weave and artist duo Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie, who operate under the name Somewhere, are in charge. Their project involves an interesting piece of cross-programming; the Portavilion 2011 will not only be a functioning boat, but also a floating cinema that promises to offer ‘onboard screenings, canal tours, talks and workshops’.
Elsewhere, Assemble CIC are busy constructing their ‘Folly for a Flyover’ in a similar vein. A temporary canal-side building in the space between east and westbound traffic on the A12 by the same group of graduates who built the pop-up Cineroleum in Clerkenwell (AJ 12.08.10). They have a six-week programme of themed films planned for this summer.
Both projects will no doubt be popular with Hackney Wick’s community of artists and architects, but how successful they are at bringing new visitors to the area remains to be seen. Perhaps Clint Eastwood in A Few Dollars More can tempt you there.