Something horrific happened in my borough of London recently. Everyone who lived in their social housing of the grade ii listed building Balfron Tower was ‘decanted’, a cryptic and strange term that seems somewhat less poetic than its intention. Those who lived here were slowly forced out under the pretence of fixing their home and then slowly rehomed, after living there for so long. The homes are being sold commercially and renovated for the act at present. When I took these images, I was living in council housing between this area and the district of Canary Wharf and like most areas of London I saw the rapid change and gentrification. Yet nothing had hit me quite like seeing many people, mostly the elderly people of colour in the area or often single mothers ushered out so that these could be sold to the financially elite on the other side of the threshold. This building like the Barbican has a rich history associated with social housing, a utopian aesthetic made with workers and people who need support in mind. The utilitarian look is for those people. I can’t imagine being someone of such great financial privilege who sees this, wanting to live in it knowing it has come to them after a severe ‘decanting’ of the people who lived in it before.
This shoot was taken recently during the renovation on Balfron Tower, the insignia on the wrapping around the building is that of the local counsel facilitating the upheaval. I asked someone who I trust, a friend to work with me of this model Talisa Romagnoli, thank you Talisa.