VoiceOver Finsbury Park

A new exhibition at the Museum of London unveils a network of voices thoughts and ideas generated by the residents of Finsbury Park

On until 15th April 2018 at the Museum of London the exhibition called VoiceOver Finsbury Park, is the result of a month-long social radio project in which residents of Park House, a housing block on Seven Sisters Road, broadcast monologues and discussions about life in London and expressed their feelings about the city’s future, with the aim of giving neighbours who may never have spoken to each other a reason to chat and share ideas.

VoiceOver Finsbury Park -  The Museum of London

This hyper-local communications network, which was installed and operated by residents, enabled them to suggest and discuss their ideas, speculations and imaginings about the future of London. During January 2018, a network of sound and light spread through Park House. Residents were using radio boxes installed in their homes to record thoughts and ideas through the VoiceOver Finsbury Park social radio project.

VoiceOver Finsbury Park -  The Museum of London VoiceOver Finsbury Park -  The Museum of London VoiceOver Finsbury Park -  The Museum of London VoiceOver Finsbury Park -  The Museum of London

These broadcasts are now being played in a takeover of a gallery in the Museum of London where visitors can listen to the voices, thoughts and interactions from the Finsbury Park residents captured by the installation.

VoiceOver Finsbury Park -  The Museum of London VoiceOver Finsbury Park -  The Museum of London

VoiceOver Finsbury Park was produced by Umbrellium in partnership with Furtherfield, a local arts and technology organisation based in Finsbury Park and with strong ties to the local community. They were the winners of an open call issued in May last year by the Museum of London who were looking for projects that would offer suggestions for positive change in the city. The open call was part of the museum’s initiative, City Now City Future, a year-long season of events exploring some of the challenges of urban life and the future of global cities. With VoiceOver Finsbury Park the Museum of London wanted to find out what local projects could citizens build to overcome the challenges of urban living and bring people closer together.

VoiceOver Finsbury Park -  The Museum of London

“Whilst our digital networks probably stretch across continents, they may not include our closest neighbours,” says Usman Haque, Founding Partner, Umbrellium.  “Residents of Park House were invited to respond to a series of questions, like; what can you see from your window? What would you like to see? The responses gave different views of London, different views on life… through them we got a glimpse into their interests, histories and dreams. By sharing and responding, they gained new perspectives – but gave up urban anonymity.”

“VoiceOver isn’t like social media or a hi-tech communication platform. That’s deliberate, continues Usman. “The networks of radio boxes and lights are visible and accessible, DIY instead of slick and corporate. The scale is local, the pace reflective. It could be your new network. It could change your community.”

VoiceOver Finsbury Park -  The Museum of London VoiceOver Finsbury Park -  The Museum of London

Ruth Catlow, Co-founder, Furtherfield, said: “People talked about how they felt about their views from Park House,  about what they knew and imagined about the other people who lived there. They talked about their lives in the tower and compared them with elsewhere in London and in their home countries. They sang songs, told jokes, and talked about what they would change in the future of Finsbury Park, London and the world if they had the power. The broadcasts are funny, poignant, dark and full of life.”

VoiceOver Finsbury Park -  The Museum of London

Lauren Parker, City Now City Future Curator at the Museum of London, said: “Living in a global city like London brings with it many joys and benefits but often, human scale interaction can get lost in the hubbub. VoiceOver Finsbury Park has brought communities together, it has created connections and shared their experiences in a new and exciting way. As we look to the future of cities like London, this experiment to see what comes out of this project.”

VoiceOver Finsbury Park -  The Museum of London

VoiceOver Finsbury Park is a development on the Umbrellium project VoiceOver East Durham, commissioned by East Durham Creates and produced by Forma. An Idea for a Future London is co-commissioned by the Museum of London and Thirteen Ways for City Now City Future, and supported using public funding by Arts Council England.


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