Lamb’s Passage
a cupboard collective project

Two artists cycle to the boundary region of London’s financial district. Unlike other borders it is not difficult to cross even though they are guarded by Dragons (unless you’re called Elizabeth). Often the only indication of your current territory is in the red-white-black patterns on the bollards and bins around you. Just beyond the northern demarcations of ‘the City’, the two artists repaint the street furniture in the City’s colours, extending its borders to wrap around Lamb’s Passage, adding a new demographic to the exclusive territory.

Over the last 150 years the City of London has lost and expelled more than 90% of its resident population, leaving a transitory space shaping itself around the needs of an ever more aggressive financial sector. It is difficult to ascertain whether an extension of the City boundaries is a novel inclusivity or an encroaching growth of business needs into the remaining living quarters around.
Habitats are shaped by the decisions the inhabitants within make. If one is unaware of their own formative potential, forces and directions emerge that one has contributed to, yet one often finds alienating in the larger scale of the urban landscape. The markers of power and appropriation – in this case the street furniture – is a sign not only of historic coincidence, but of wilful direction and assertion. When the City becomes uninhabitable and turns into an odd mixture of traditional conservation and aggressive capitalist ventures, this change has been deliberate. And it may have been us that wanted it.
In this project, we unearth some of the heterogeneity in London. The naturalised assumption that the financial has the power and can dictate the rest of the City, and even the rest of the country, what values to follow is as fragile as the street furniture its historical claim rests upon. A few licks of paint, and the boundaries blur, new possibilities emerge and suddenly people ask – ‘Was it always like this?’.
Lambs Passage Night Wet

The repainting took several days and nights and provoked exchanged between passers by and security guards protecting the surrounding private buildings (but not the public space the artists were interfering with). Despite the dubious experience of the artists painting the bollards at night, the low level of intervention was easily granted validity – overheard conversations included ‘They belong here, I saw them doing the same yesterday’. These quiet markers of power, both financial and historical, were instead transformed into a playful glitch in the century-old fabric of the City.



Jo Kernon lives in East London and is a member of the cupboardcollective  She works in a range of media and her work often has participatory or performative elements which work with the poetic, with questions, altered perceptions and space. Her focus is on unexplored potential and loss, connectivity and relatedness. She currently also teaches art at a Steiner school.

Richard Rosch lives in East London and is a member of the cupboardcollective  He mainly works with small interventions and perceptual shifts. He is interested in the poetic potential in human interactions and in different levels of its representation. He does research at the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre at Birkbeck, University of London and works as a neuroscientist and medical doctor.



Submitted by Richard E Rosch on the 27th of August 2014.

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