This Was Tomorrow2019
The particular subject of “This was Tomorrow” is the demolition of an iconic modernist block of social housing, Robin Hood Gardens, in Poplar, London. Viewing it as a whole has been deliberately made difficult. The image of the remains of the building and of the yellow digger has been pixelated to render it hard to focus on close up, but easier to see at a distance. Conversely the details, which locate it in place and time, are only readable close to. The square pixels (the building blocks of the apartments in the process of demolition) are interrupted by a cascade of removal packing boxes and a chaotic tangle of reinforcement wire from former concrete constructions.
The title reverses the time perspective of the visionary exhibition "This is Tomorrow" in 1956. The architects of Robin Hood Gardens, Alison and Peter Smithson, were involved in that exhibition and they appear in this screen print in a tiny photograph with the sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi and photographer Nigel Henderson (Incorporated with permission of Tate Images on behalf of the Henderson Estate)