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Urban Alchemy

Alchimie urbaine
Hilary Powell

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Artist Hilary Powell examines the material components of the demolition site (from zinc to copper, steel, concrete, brick, asbestos, lime mortar, cement, lead and slate). In direct collaboration with these materials she tells stories and creates images of both demolition sites and those who work transforming them. Through imaginative salvage the work explores regeneration and economic transition by putting the physical remnants of industrial decline to artistic use. Creative production and the poetry and politics of place combine with the science, agency and political ecology of materials in this cross disciplinary exploration of the life cycles and micro and macro economics of the material culture of post-industrial landscapes. The project focuses on often overlooked and undervalued processes, materials, lives and livelihoods and questions the way we value, consume and waste materials.

1The project began through ongoing work on demolition sites as part of an AHRC Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. It continued as Hilary became Leverhulme Artist in Residence in UCL Chemistry collaborating with Anthropology through a UCL Sustainable Cities Grand Challenges award on ‘Deconstructing Demolition: Journeys through Scrap and Salvage’ working towards ‘Urban Alchemy’ events, printmaking experiments, prints and publication.

Roof tops of London

Roof tops of London

© Hilary Powell

Zinc in situ

Zinc in situ

Roof top of Wates House, College of London University (UCL) in the course of profound renovation and old building of Barlett School of Architecture.

© Hilary Powell

Zinc on the skip

Zinc on the skip

The artist Hilary Powell appropriating some zinc of cover on the construction site of recovery of metals.

© Hilary Powell

Zinc in pile

Zinc in pile

Zinc of cover deformed, piled on a demolition site

© Hilary Powell

Zinc in studio

Zinc in studio

Zinc bands of cover waiting to be cleaned to the workshop of print.

© Hilary Powell

Zinc in acid

Zinc in acid

Overview of an image taking shape as the zinc, handled with a cloud of powder of resin of warmed aquatint, is bitten into the nitric acid.

© Hilary Powell

Zinc image in acid

Zinc image in acid

Portrait of a worker in demolition forming while the zinc is washed in the water.

© Hilary Powell

History of zinc

History of zinc

A story of the zinc engraved in the zinc (in mirror) by means of a varnish on the zinc collected and covered with nitric acid.

© Hilary Powell

AndyMacLachlan

AndyMacLachlan

Andy McLachlan's portrait, worker in demolition working for the company Scudder, hired on the site of the UCL.

© Hilary Powell

Brass plate engraved with figure

Brass plate engraved with figure

Andy McLachlan's portrait, worker in demolition, engraved on a brass plate of couvrement recycled.

© Hilary Powell

Detail of the final test of Andy's portrait

Detail of the final test of Andy's portrait

Andy McLachlan to the canteen of the construction workers of the UCL in front of a version enlarged by the paper print makes from the zinc of couvrement recycled and printed on architect's collected plans.

© Hilary Powell

Final test on architect's collected plans

Final test on architect's collected plans

Portrait of Lybomir, worker working on a demolition site.

© Hilary Powell

Final test 2

Final test 2

Brian's portrait, worker working on a demolition site, engraved on some zinc recycled and printed on architect's recycled plans.

© Hilary Powell

Hilary Powell on demolition site

Hilary Powell on demolition site

© Hilary Powell

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Table des illustrations

Titre Roof tops of London
Crédits © Hilary Powell
URL http://tc.revues.org/docannexe/image/7868/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 76k
Titre Zinc in situ
Légende Roof top of Wates House, College of London University (UCL) in the course of profound renovation and old building of Barlett School of Architecture.
Crédits © Hilary Powell
URL http://tc.revues.org/docannexe/image/7868/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 112k
Titre Zinc on the skip
Légende The artist Hilary Powell appropriating some zinc of cover on the construction site of recovery of metals.
Crédits © Hilary Powell
URL http://tc.revues.org/docannexe/image/7868/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,4M
Titre Zinc in pile
Légende Zinc of cover deformed, piled on a demolition site
Crédits © Hilary Powell
URL http://tc.revues.org/docannexe/image/7868/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 4,5M
Titre Zinc in studio
Légende Zinc bands of cover waiting to be cleaned to the workshop of print.
Crédits © Hilary Powell
URL http://tc.revues.org/docannexe/image/7868/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 140k
Titre Zinc in acid
Légende Overview of an image taking shape as the zinc, handled with a cloud of powder of resin of warmed aquatint, is bitten into the nitric acid.
Crédits © Hilary Powell
URL http://tc.revues.org/docannexe/image/7868/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 312k
Titre Zinc image in acid
Légende Portrait of a worker in demolition forming while the zinc is washed in the water.
Crédits © Hilary Powell
URL http://tc.revues.org/docannexe/image/7868/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 312k
Titre History of zinc
Légende A story of the zinc engraved in the zinc (in mirror) by means of a varnish on the zinc collected and covered with nitric acid.
Crédits © Hilary Powell
URL http://tc.revues.org/docannexe/image/7868/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 192k
Titre AndyMacLachlan
Légende Andy McLachlan's portrait, worker in demolition working for the company Scudder, hired on the site of the UCL.
Crédits © Hilary Powell
URL http://tc.revues.org/docannexe/image/7868/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 208k
Titre Brass plate engraved with figure
Légende Andy McLachlan's portrait, worker in demolition, engraved on a brass plate of couvrement recycled.
Crédits © Hilary Powell
URL http://tc.revues.org/docannexe/image/7868/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 340k
Titre Detail of the final test of Andy's portrait
Légende Andy McLachlan to the canteen of the construction workers of the UCL in front of a version enlarged by the paper print makes from the zinc of couvrement recycled and printed on architect's collected plans.
Crédits © Hilary Powell
URL http://tc.revues.org/docannexe/image/7868/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 996k
Titre Final test on architect's collected plans
Légende Portrait of Lybomir, worker working on a demolition site.
Crédits © Hilary Powell
URL http://tc.revues.org/docannexe/image/7868/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 456k
Titre Final test 2
Légende Brian's portrait, worker working on a demolition site, engraved on some zinc recycled and printed on architect's recycled plans.
Crédits © Hilary Powell
URL http://tc.revues.org/docannexe/image/7868/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 460k
Titre Hilary Powell on demolition site
Crédits © Hilary Powell
URL http://tc.revues.org/docannexe/image/7868/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,1M
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Référence électronique

Hilary Powell, « Urban Alchemy », Techniques & Culture [En ligne], Suppléments au n°65-66, mis en ligne le 31 octobre 2016, consulté le 19 octobre 2017. URL : http://tc.revues.org/7868

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Auteur

Hilary Powell

Artist Hilary Powell works with undervalued or overlooked processes, materials, people and places across a wide range of media. Her practice is a creative salvage operation that has taken her onto the London Olympic regeneration site, into underused urban precincts and around urban demolition sites. Recent projects include making portraits of the last working coal miners of South Wales printed from stone with coal dust and enlisting a gang of children from a local adventure playground to assist with the creative destruction of BBC TV Centre's East Tower. www.hilarypowell.com

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