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Tue - Sat. 12 - 6pm

Arebyte is excited to present Louise Ashcroft’s

exhibition I'd Rather be Shopping


Since January 2017, artist Louise Ashcroft has

been in residence off-site at Westfield

Shopping Centre in Stratford, East London, as

part of arebyte’s 2017 programme, Control.

Louise’s research trips to Westfield have

revolved around the marketing strategies

used in fashion, retail and shopping culture in

general, from the language used for branding

and advertisements, to the architecture of

shopping environment and the emotional

impact of the shoppers and visitors. Click

here to watch Louise’s video trailer. At the

culmination of her research in August, Louise

will present a series of artworks at arebyte in

Hackney Wick, a five-minute walk from



#SIGNS: In April Louise worked with specialist

sign painter Hannah Matthews to lead a

workshop in which participants painted

traditional narrow boat signs using words

and phrases from fashionable slogan T-shirts

found in Westfield, such as 'Sorry not sorry',

'I won't answer your texts' or 'Like is the new

love', in lieu of boat names. Mass-produced

languages of fast fashion were slowed down

through this handmade process, which is

traditionally used to christen boats Destiny,

Dawdler or Narrow Escape (these are a few

that frequent the river at Hackney Wick).

Louise is making dozens of these boat signs, which will be displayed in the exhibition and then gifted to boats along the Stratford waterways after the show.


Artist Happy Meals: Louise Ashcroft and collaborators are redesigning the ‘happy’ toys given away with fast food in the shopping centre.

Visitors to the Food Hall at Westfield can email with a photograph of their fast food toy and their address and they’ll be sent an artist-designed toy instead, ones which will demonstrate a more complex range of emotions. Designs and prototypes will be displayed as part of the exhibition.


Retail Therapy: A bookable shopping service and performance tour of Westfield. Individually or in small groups, members of the public will visit the Shopping Centre, where they are guided through a selection of playful (pseudo)psychoanalytical activities by Louise. To book a session in July to September email


Grimy Goods: Louise has compiled words from the shopping catalogues in Westfield to create a cut-up text, which will be recorded as a track by a local grime artist. Westfield was built on top of an important grime venue and the area of E3 is the home of this influential music genre. This track will be played in the exhibition.


Deviant Planning Committee: Collaborating with UCL students at The Institute for Global Prosperity, Louise is compiling an inventory of deviations; ways to use the Olympic Park other than what the architects, council, businesses and planners had in mind. This will be presented as a map with diagrams.


About Louise Ashcroft

Louise Ashcroft's practice is generated from actions and observations made in ordinary places like the supermarket, a stranger's house, a LinkedIn profile, or the street. These contexts are used as material for social collages and subversions which reprogramme prevailing cultural logic and suggest alternatives. For example, planning a life together with strangers while helping them with their housework (Why Don't We Live Together?, 2016-17); repeatedly smuggling unfamiliar-looking African vegetables into supermarkets and trying to buy them (Vegetable, 2003-17); or working with communities in Exeter to redesign the entire Internet from scratch using whatever materials were to hand (Remaking the Internet, 2016).

Louise studied at The Royal College of Art and The Ruskin School of Art, Oxford. She is co-founder of the free art school AltMFA. She has exhibited widely including at Westminster Waste, The Koppel Project, The Government Art Collection, Exeter Phoenix, AVU Prague, Latitude Festival, Guest Projects, Turner Contemporary (Margate), ArtLicks Weekend, The Boring Conference and The Function Room. Louise was recently Family Artist in Residence at Camden Arts Centre and Tate Schools Artist in Residence. She is also a visiting lecturer at various universities including UCA Farnham and Goldsmiths.

Performance tour of Stratford City, Tuesday 19 September 7.00pm



Developed in collaboration with Nimrod Vardi. Supported by arebyte and Arts Council England


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