Friday, July 20, 2012


Swandown at Dilston Grove (Cafe Gallery) in Southwark Park is an installation to accompany the film 'Swandown' about Andrew Kötting and Iain Sinclair's journey, in a swan-shaped pedalo, from Hastings to Hackney - a journey described by Sinclair as a kind of mute 'counter grand project' to the Olympics and similar initiatives. It is on until July 29th.

I went along a couple of weeks ago (1st July) to a talk featuring Sinclair and the writer Marina Warner in conversation about the complex mythology of the swan - as both graceful and violent, pure and terrifying, creature of the water and the sky. The many swan names in the river city of London were referred to (and indeed, though not mentioned, there is a Swan Road in SE16 and Swan Street SE1, as well as numerous Swan pubs).

Marina Warner and Iain Sinclair talking in the swan

Dilston Grove - built in 1911 as the Clare College Mission Church, this early concrete building
is now Grade II listed. The church itself closed in 1966. Clare College Mission was a philanthropic
settlement linked to the Cambridge University college.

Among the documents in the exhibition is this 1987 flyer for an appearance by
Sinclair and Brian Catling at Rasp - seemingly a poetry night held at 67 Balfour Street, SE17

Actual swans in Southwark Park

1 comment:

Tom Murphy said...

Waaaa! They could break your arm!