Allan Parker

Silvertown Srishti (India)

Silvertown Residency – Srishti College, Bangalore, India


Residency for 18 students from Srishti College in Bangalore to travel to JSW Steelworks (staying on their campus) visiting the steelworks and Hampi (Capital of the 15th-16thC Vijayanagar Empire) for a week  and afterwards  creating an exhibition back in Bangalore within a month using photographic and sculptural processes.

Industrial sites and ruins have inspired film makers and artists for generations with their ability to suggest dystopian landscapes and uncertain futures. The SILVERTOWN project was inspired by a vast industrial complex which operated from the 1870’s to the 1960’s on the banks of the Thames in East London.

The area was severely bombed during the war and for many years after its closure it remained a spectacular ruin, attracting film makers such as Stanley Kubrick (Full Metal Jacket) and Michael Radford (George Orwell’s 1984). The Silvertown site has now utterly vanished under shopping malls and gated communities and no longer registers on present day maps of the area. It is now a place that exists only in the imagination and in the films and artworks it inspired. The memory of the site and its representations reiterate how multiple stories and histories attach themselves to specific locations over time, re-appearing as the fragments which form our collective memory of the past.

This complicated exchange between art and commerce has continued down the years and is perhaps echoed in JSW’s generous offer to Srishti photography students to visit the biggest steelworks in India – interspersed with trips to Hampi the restoration of which is also part-funded by JSW. This trip was for 1 week and the group set alternate days at JSW Steelworks and Hampi in Karnataka. This visit formed the basis of the project, the work being completed and exhibited over the next 4 weeks in Bangalore. The extreme contrast between these two locations has inspired students to produce some engaging and original work. After the initial impulse to document everything these two dramatic locations have to offer with photographs, video and sound recordings; more developed and considered work  emerged, with varied and original presentations adding new layers of meaning. (See catalogue for full text)

The link below shows the pitch/proposal for the residency, securing the funding from JSW Steelworks – 5 page Silvertown Proposal