Measuring 1 metre in diameter, Globe is a copper sphere that will start its life free of any imperfections, ready to embark on a journey around East London. The project responds to and reflects different ways in which migration has shaped local communities. Globe’s spatial politics will be shaped by her spherical design, a mobile, dynamic and evolving piece of art. It will be able to cover shared ground, roll through housing estates and into cultural institutions in equal measure. As it rolls through the streets, Globe’s copper exterior will degrade and scar, taking on the impressions of each route it travels, visually mapping each journey it takes.
Cameras strapped inside portholes will film the rotation of each leg of Globe’s journey through East London as Platun engages in conversations with the public around ideas of home, belonging and community. These personal narratives will be juxtaposed with the tumbling images of Globe’s revolving footage as part of a final film. Globe will be a finished piece of art in its own right, shaped by the people and places of East London; it will carry the marks of all its journeys. The exterior will be an enduring monument to the area.
The project will engage with ideas of a globe as both a physical and metaphorical prism to explore the imaginative and embodied experience of home and belonging in urban spaces shaped by migration and mobility. The residency will involve creative engagement with these themes but also, importantly, an exploration of new forms of collaboration and practice-based research. The residency will allow for a dynamic and creative dialogue between the artist Janetka Platun, scholars from QMUL and colleagues at the Centre for Studies of Home, and members of the public living in East London who will participate in the project.
One of Platun’s motivations for this project stems from the experience of her parents. Both were post war migrants who individually moved to East London from Poland and Belarus. Her father arrived in the UK in 1946 as part of the Polish Resettlement Corps. After two years in a military camp, he moved to Tower Hamlets and lived in various temporary dwellings around Whitechapel and Stepney. Her mother fled Communist Poland in 1962 and settled in Hackney where she was given the address of a Polish man who might help her. Like so many migrants, East London was their first port of call.