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Ministry of Subverted Restoration

Part 1 Project 2012
Daniel Sweeting
Oxford Brookes University, UK
The project centres around the observation of tourist activity on the River Thames, the linear, non-diverging route of the tour boats promotes an experience of London lived through its icons and landmarks. Where once the Thames was the gritty, industrial artery of the City, there now exists a boundary to which industry has been forced beyond the immediate riverbank, opening a polished and well-kept landscape for the city’s millions of tourists. The Ministry of Subverted Restoration proposes that this old industry, the very thing that London was built upon should once again be revealed, establishing the Thames as a route for industry once again.

The Ministry exists to subvert a reminder of a very different London, one little more than 100 years ago into its current urban fabric, creating glimpses into an industrial past. The site, Victoria Tower Gardens itself used to house dozens of wharfs & slums, busy with the sound of industry. They stood alongside the Palace of Westminster, in opposition to its grandeur as a reminder of the everyday existence of the majority of Londoners. The Ministry building seeks to celebrate London’s rich industrial past, revealing its integrity beyond the ‘icon-centred’ fake image that ‘tourist London’ is experienced as.

The Ministry will house a house a process which will melt down scrap steel from the demolition of remaining industrial buildings imported on barges from further along the Thames, and cast them into objects that will fill the cracks of the everyday London Street. The cast objects promote intrigue to the common tourist as they are rewarded by finding more as they explore the city beyond its typical tourist routes.

The Ministry has been derived from the process of metal casting, it main spaces formed by function. The exhibition space, displaying the remaining cast-moulds hangs between two towering chimneys, a close encounter with a forgotten sight on London’s riverbank.

Daniel Sweeting

Mr David Grindley
Ms Sarah Stevens
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