STRATFORD WORKS/Offsite Residency
Jan - Sept 2017
Louise Ashcroft is in residence in Stratford's Westfield shopping mall. She is working with the conflicting forces of freedom and control surrounding her at the intersection between the ravers, rappers, creatives and boaters of Hackney Wick and the consumerism, Olympic legacies and luxury flats of Stratford City. The title of the residency, 'Stratford Works', is the name of a locomotive building workshop formerly based on the Stratford City site. Following several months of research and response, Louise will exhibit new works at Arebyte during August-September 2017.
In 2015 Louise Ashcroft gave a humorous (but deadly serious) TEDx talk chronicling her unofficial residency at Stratford Centre, an unglamorous 1970s shopping precinct located directly opposite the huge Westfield mall . Ashcroft analysed the centre's marketing philosophy of "taking something negative about yourself and owning it" and applied this strategy to a variety of London-wide interventions. This new residency extends Louise's shopping centre research, this time focussing on the enormous, gleaming Westfield Mall and the cultural ecosystems within which it operates.
Louise Ashcroft's practice is generated from field research in ordinary places like the supermarket, a stranger's house, your 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 strange-looking African vegetables into supermarkets and trying to buy them (Vegetable, 2003-17); or working with communities in Exeter to redesign and remake 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 recently exhibited at 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. In Autumn-Winter 2016 Louise was Family Artist in Residence at Camden Arts Centre and Tate Schools Artist in Residence. She is also a visiting lecturer in Fine Art at UCA Farnham and Goldsmiths London.
More information on Louise's practice can be found at louiseashcroft.org.