Crossed Bridges

Residents in Deptford and Greenwich, the ‘Friends of Deptford Creek,’ have formed an alliance to help co-ordinate living and working amongst the clustered houseboats and workplaces, to share access to the land resources and promote mooring rights.

Living on the Creek they enjoy relative independence, whilst navigating increasingly unstable environmental, commercial and social conditions. All around them, the struggle for land use, rolls on at a ferocious rate, excluding some and capturing others, in the quest for recognition, acknowledgement and respect.

Upholding rights to access resources, trade and live locally, are long fought battles, sustained against the odds. Increasingly rapid transformation along each side of the Creek is out-gunning the capacity to respond. Finding the energy to resist reckless planning and hold developers to their commitments is left to those people most effected. All are agreed that more independent and widespread DIY monitoring and critical response is required, not least, to gather information to counter commercial assumptions of developers.

Meanwhile, city workers and their families are moving into fresh apartments rising at every corner. Racing costs of domestic rents and restrictions of workspace are contributing to a crisis of identity and insecurity that will continue to oppress homemakers in the area, perpetuating the churn of fortunes many are already experiencing.

Large scale infrastructure projects in progress across London will soon be joined by Thames Tideway sewer overflow construction from Ealing to Becton along the Thames. There are two deep excavations planned for SE8. One at Deptford Church Street and the other at Greenwich Pump Station. Both will contribute massive local disruption for five years or more, whilst offering little in compensation or shelter for those effected.

At a recent meeting of the Deptford and Greenwich Liaison Working Group held at Creekside Discovery Centre, we heard from officials of the Thames water, Tideway and Lewisham council about their commitment to public liaison yet despite it’s detailed project plans, little was presented to ally fears of further sweeping aside of community interest and blank faced consultation processes. The promise here is for full co-operation and clarity, leaving lots of scope to fudge delivery !

Resistance to the rehearsed rhetoric surprised many of the Tideway builders and administrators present. Our Informed requests for detailed data about environmental monitoring already taking place, or any commitment to make such data feeds available were not received well, with only tacit offers of aggregation and post collection reporting on offer.. Let’s have the raw data available, please!

Additional topics to the prepared agenda tried to focus on awareness of how to negotiate for the £2.5 million pound section 106 CIL to benefit local activities (see recent council meeting minutes). However the Greenwich Pump Station excavation doesn’t have an allocation out of this, strange considering how many newly built places there will be disrupted. More on this to come!

The physical links between Greenwich and Lewisham residents are limited to the access to footpaths and bridges crossing Deptford Creek. There are seven public crossings two by road and rail and four by foot. The newest of these a ‘swing’ bridge sits at the mouth of the creek where it tips into the Thames and was completed early in 2015. A lifting bridge at Creek road allows the few larger gravel boats servicing the cement works to pass through. The rail ‘Iron Bridge’ is an industrial heritage monument but which is due a raft of safety improvement measure not least the replacement of the housing and engine lifting equipment with GRP simulations. The Ha’ppeny Hatch just beyond was installed after huge public appeal for a footbridge at this point to provide safer crossing and links Norman Road to Creekside. Environmental designs for a continuation of pedestrian walkways stretching from New Cross Gate to Woolwich were outlined in Borough Plans of the nineties!

Planning consent for 500 ton barges to carry away spoil from the Tideway tunnel dig has been requested to limit the use of road haulage consent, already offered. This would result in 2 transports per tide, instead of 100 trucks a day. For this to be possible, dredging of the middle section of the creek from Iron Bridge to the Creek mouth. The effect of all this will be to destabilize the small community of boats including the Minesweeper cluster of boats opposite Laban Dance. A further consequence will make the study area for Creekside low tide walkers inaccessible. Dredging may well turn up unexpected complications for all those along this stretch, as it’s historical uses have left a noxious sludge residue submerged not far below.

The A2 crosses over the creek at Deptford Bridge where the DLR also spans overhead. A cycle and foot path picks up again in Broadway Fields an open space with basketball courts and opportunities for public socialising, often occupied by small groups playing sport or hanging out and enjoying the rare chance for a view of sky.

A humpback footbridge jumps back over to the path leading south into Brookmill Park and the wide footbridge adjacent to Stephen Lawrence Centre opens out onto Brookmill Road. The Ravensbourne river cuts along the side of the park, in a concrete trench from Lewisham alongside the DLR.

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Senses in sight

The Brookmill Park Friends are an engaged group of locals, with differing relations towards the park. Most are neighbours and enjoy the close proximity to a great green space with a measure of co-management. In meetings, they have been very aware of the issues they face and are working with Glendale the local authority contractors, to improve the environment.

We approached the group some time ago and first connected with Cash Aspeek, who planned to use the Park Ranger’s hut for Redstart Art sessions. We helped initiate clearing up of the space, sorting the usable (indoor toilets, kettle and sink) from not (mouldy carpets, lots of rubbish).

Clearly some additional after dark security is now required and conversations about technical assistance SPC would provide as part of the MAZI zone pilot spawned a sub group to hear suggestions and discuss options. This is when we first heard of recent website failings and fallout confusion and suggested introduction of an information hotspot, presenting a ‘park guide’ and visitor interaction was suggested, as were the desire for nature watch cameras and sound recorders to live stream and monitor the environmental variations.

Conrad Ellam is a local naturalist and holds very popular twilight ‘bat walks’ and ‘dawn chorus’ listen-ins – attendance depending on who hears detail in time. in general, public signaling for events and activities in the park has become patchy, such that a clear strategy for communications is now called for.

The lost website will be revitalized with the collaboration of friends, to ensure that the best can be made of the great contributions from everyone involved. Further effort will be made to automate social media publishing about park events and introduce new public information systems to capture park visitor observations and requests.

At the most recent friends meeting there was a renewed confidence in plans for the park. This was voiced in enthusiasm for proactive planting and habitat protection, to present activities publicly and celebrate this treasured space together.

Strategies to lift visitors awareness of park rules on rubbish disposal and dog access need action. The accumulation of tins, bags and paper ends up in the undergrowth and the creek, causing problems downstream, worse the dog shit is dangerous for children, a fact people still need reminding of.

Taking up ownership of communication in the park, to update signage and improve on conditions at the Park Ranger’s hut for Redstart Arts and friends meetings is key. Regularly updated and relevant notices around the park will also help promote the Friends activities as well as information about neighborhood concerns and interests.

We are ready to install Salsa bluetooth responders in to the park, at the notice boards and Park Ranger’s hut. Proximity to the passive info points trigger pages of a our smart phone application to appear on screen, relaying historical, nature watch and cultural information.

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Concurrency

elasticsystemLate summer has stretched out into October this year and to some extent the anticipation of wintry times ahead, is drawing our attention on from the confusion of recent electoral fiascos. Our best effort as individuals or in groups can seem ever more diluted and frustrated, however, much else that we take for granted, must continually overcome effects of disruption and change.

Richard Wright invited us to visit his latest project Elastic System , where we were treated to a review of the British Library cataloging systems that represent it’s huge collection of published titles. The last attempted consolidation was abandoned at letter D, having taken 15 years before settling on a composite set. Now between 150 and 180 million acquisitions co-exist in the Yorkshire repository or in the London library. Richard worked with IoCT (internet of collected things) to examine the progress of capturing and representing the information stream of new data about how the library is organised, focusing on a historical screenshot-at-2016-11-30-00-24-21collection in London and it’s specific method of elastic co-ordination.

Steven Ball visited Deckspace on a few occasions during his research and preparation for Deep Water web. His simple but poetic aim, to present a live view of Sydney Harbor for us in London and there, a view of Thames in return. Both were viewed at Furtherfield Gallery in Finsbury Park during a summer exhibition, complimented with a concrete’ exchange of current reports in a collage information streams.

The daylight music series at union chapel this month featured William D Drake, performing otherwise unreleased songs at the church organ alongside singer Louise Kloboe. Cameras nested in the organ guts and around the stage were stitched together well as record of this very entertaining collaboration.

the-sea-nymphs_pressLater in the month we also saw Bill perform alongside old friends to celebrate the launch of long awaited second album of Sea Nymphs recordings which are available together with the first release from 1992! The time gap between releases is now compressed to a moment of anticipation for all the evergreen pleasures now at last available for all.

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Well conversed

bucharestschoolarchitectbucharesttramstreetInura held it’s 26th annual conference this year in Romania, between the city of Bucharest and Transylvanian village, Sibiel.

YT joined several other members of MAZI project for the closing day of the ‘city’ conference, before jumping on the coach for the ‘country’ retreat, a day ride over the infamous mountain peaks and lush valleys.

lushgreenThroughout the trip Gruia Badescu fed us all with rolling history and tales of the region whilst we tested out a ‘standalone’ Mazi Playground prototype, encouraging upload of images, recordings and texts to the OwnCloud and EtherPad services it offers as well as mobile broadband tethered through it to Panos smart-phone!

philipvillageOur destination was a hillside hotel and conference centre, where we spent four busy days reviewing experiences of Bucharest and reflecting on the many projects and fascinating activities of all those attending. sibiuworkhouse

Continuing our tour we visited nearby medieval city and regional capital Sibiu. We trawled it’s fine churches, layered antiquity and twisting cobbled streets until afternoon when we reconvened for a round of headingdowntownresponses and commentary on local projects and investigations.

Back in Sibiel, there were more great presentations in the conference room, outside in the sunshine and just about anywhere within walking distance!

Mark Saunders of Spectacle Films showed a his recently completed documentary about Battersea Powerstation – bewildering scale of ineptness, manipulation and corruption continues as we speak about it..

devinerepresentationOrhan Esen presented a startling report on the Byzantine struggle for power and control in Turkey following the recent ‘coup’ and political fallout. The swapping of political allegiances and the recombining of establishment power with previously incompatible adversaries, turns everything on its head. By the end of the presentation a further 100 journalists had been rounded up and incarcerated, so his liberty is similarly threatened.

Iva and Ksenija of Ne Damo Beograd talked about Waterfront Development protest movement and recent overnight illegal demolition of a City block. Subsequent denials by Mayor and government convinced nobody.

3000Occupy and Indymedia activists, must wonder how so much great energy and will for change, can be digested without trace by public and state. Five years on, the euphoric peoples assemblies, protesting the incompetence, corruption and greed, all but forgotten in the stampede for brexit and grip of longer term conservatism.

The rising feeling we are being toyed with, is nauseating. Perhaps Adam Curtis can shed some light? His latest documentary Hypernormalisation picks up on the trail leaking out from Bitter Lake and outlines much that we have allowed ourselves to trump for granted.

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reTransmission

YT has recently rekindled contact with Indymedia activist network members as part of an initiative to build a new hosting platform, an Activist Media Proxy – AMP.

carnivalselectioncropLittle in the way of social documentary, street protest and public information material exists outside of the youtube/googleplex. Of the many attempts to change assumptions, Engagemedia and Undercurrents have lead the way.

Our hope is that in collaboration with activist media makers and producers, further good use can be made of this vibrant social history, to review past action and inform on current struggles.

The first move of the founding group has been to appoint a coordinator and gather together an information base, to establish communication and suitable support framework. With this foundation in place is has been possible to activate new services to begin working with the existing video collections, present tools for annotation and prepare selections for review.

Please visit the AMP project wiki for more information.

whitebuildingcanalsideThe video, audio and text archives will be stored in a web accessible database. Pan.do/ra offers the combination of media processing, context annotation and collaboration management tools needed. Several other media collections are being drawn together in London using this same great system.

Community archives are reactivated at Maydayrooms events where documents are scanned and media resources organised. Their collection features a selection of period film and event documentary, available img-94over their local area network, alongside an extensive document catalogue for researchers to explore.

A complete set of the DAU film sequences, it’s huge image collection of period artifacts and extensive wardrobe as worn during filming and by residents of Kharkiv, features in their intranet media project. The DAU feature film is itself now due for release in 2017 the centenary of the Russian revolution.

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Waterline workout

The Minesweeper on Deptford Creek seeks refurbishment of the fire damaged hull and an evolution of support infrastructure. The collective aim to build free floating ‘data mines’ to tether in the creek, msfiredeckthat collect waterline signals and monitor environmental conditions. Remedial work on Minesweeper power distribution is urgently required if we are to install services and sensors that offer reliable data streams. Plans for exactly how to proceed with repairs and refurbishment of the damaged stern need detailing. aldworthandbondNeighbours Aldworth and Bond timber fabricators have visited to assess the scope of reconstruction work, a big structural job with limited resources but information is not yet flowing back and forth as needed. More detail about what is required and the steps to be taken, have yet to be understood and agreed by the crew. For powerdistributionminethose prepared to support refurbishment, outline proposals and illustrations of plans and costings are essential to evaluate costs and help raise the funds needed.

Energy management is one of the key issues those working and living on boats have to face. The add-hock installations aboard the Minesweeper over the years have resulted in layers of cables, multiple battery charging stations and unstable physical connections. mineprintworkshops08The adjacent Liftmore boat provides the diesel generator currently used to supply 220v AC when printing equipment is in use. minequarterdeckThis also drives a quality charging unit for several high power leisure batteries. The 12v DC is then mostly in use to illuminate work areas and recharge mobile phones and laptops. A recently refurbished wind turbine is ready to be lifted to the mast and SELCE have donated 6 x 175w solar panels which await integration.

Existing 220v audio amplification and speaker system needs replacement, so introduction of 12v powered amps preferred. Meanwhile 5v usb charging/powering of IOT devices, 12v mixed lighting and wireless network access need to remain available. Tmineprintstudiohe print studio has requirement for 3kw heat press, flashing oven and high pressure washers.. there is also a vacuum table and lightbox to expose photo reactive film for screen masking. We assume there is also a water pump somewhere to clear the bilge!mineprintworkshops01

To bring all this together alongside we have contracted I/O engineer Alexei Blinov to work with the crew to agree on priorities, audit available materials and help specify a plan to work on together during August. The objective is to provide regulated and reliable energy supply that can be managed and monitored safely. Solar and wind turbine units add to the complexity, modern voltage regulators accommodate this mixed economy well.

 

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