Tom Estes Performance ‘Night Cleaning’ at Departures Gallery

On Friday the 8th of October, 2010 Tom Estes staged the Performance ‘Night Cleaning’ at the Departures Gallery as part of the exhibition Rhizomatic.

Rhizomatic is an experimental, decentralised curatorial system based on the concept of the Rhizome, as explored in Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophical masterpiece A Thousand Plateaus. This is Departure Gallery’s largest and most ambitious show so far and includes work by over two hundred artists exhibiting in 100,000 sq ft of warehouse space.

Selected artists associated with Departure Gallery were each invited to choose up to six artists to exhibit alongside them. In turn, this second generation were encouraged to invite a further six participants, making a third generation, who could then invite six more. This six-link structure was inspired by the idea that all humans are connected by ‘six degrees of separation’.

A rhizome is a sprawling, unhierarchical system of connections that are constantly in flux and can spring up at any moment in space and time. This exhibition does not seek to fix the rhizome by presenting it in a finished form, but, rather, it represents an attempt to freeze a moment of this rhizomatic process in the interests of examining its structure more closely. Furthermore, the show aims to catch a glimpse of the creative networks within which Departure Gallery’s artists operate, in order to locate ourselves within the wider art world.

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“Principles of connection and heterogeneity: at any point a rhizome can be connected to anything other, and must be… A rhizome ceaselessly establishes connections between semiotic chains, organisations of power, and circumstances relevant to the arts, sciences and social struggles.”

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus.

“This rhizomatic structure has particular resonance in the context of The International Trading Estate, which is a hub of haulage and distribution companies sorting and transporting goods in flux between producer and consumer. The exhibition will not constitute the end of the rhizome, because a true rhizome has no beginning or end, but is ongoing and unlimited. Each artist involved will continue to make connections during and after the exhibition through the contacts and ideas that emerge as a result of the show. This opens up the possibility of creating a larger sequel exhibition at some point in the future. Who knows where this will go and what might result?”

Louise Ashcroft, Curator

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The performance ‘Night Cleaning’ was first staged by Tom Estes as a clandestine act on tuesday, the 21st of September, 2010 at Elevator Gallery. The Elevator Gallery is a contemporary art space in Hackney Wick, an industrial area, adjacent to the main site of the 9 billion pound Olympic Project for London 2012.

It is to be hoped that Hackney Wick’s proximity to the Olympic Park will stimulate much-needed jobs and environmental improvements in this vicinity. A third of homes in Hackney Wick are rented from a social landlord and another quarter from the council. Five per cent of households have neither central heating nor sole use of a bath or toilet – the highest proportion in London.

The expected cost of the 2012 London Olympics has tripled to more than £9bn and a raid on National Lottery money has now become necessary. Peter Hewitt, chief executive of Arts Council England, said it would affect smaller arts organisations, local projects and individual artists. The raid on funding in order to deliver the Olympics will see millions diverted in the coming years away from beneficiaries of the Big Lottery Fund, the arts, heritage, and grassroots sport – causes which the architects of the 2012 project claimed would be boosted by a London Olympics. David Barrie, director of the Art Fund charity said the raid “makes the Prime Minister’s celebration of a ‘golden age’ for the arts ring very hollow”.

For more information:

The Departure Gallery

Tel: 07861 375101.

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Departure Gallery, 5 – 6 Boeing Way, London UB2 5LF.



( B & W photos by Jack Catling)

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