There are normally few options for those trapped waiting on a platform for a train. At best there’ll be a small coffee shop; at worst it’s just you, your thoughts and a Selecta vending machine.
Hackney Downs station, on the other hand, has Banner Repeater – the fully-featured gallery space and reading room ensconced on Platform 1. Thanks to a new partnership with Transport for London (TfL) and Arriva Rail, the long term future of the space has been secured, and they’re celebrating with a party and fundraiser tomorrow, Wednesday 8 November.
City Hall helped broker the deal, which offers a cheap, peppercorn rent until the year 2020. Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE, had this to say: “The Mayor has made protecting the capital’s culture one of his top priorities. Banner Repeater is a great example of how a creative community can bring a location to life.
“It is a small but ambitious and highly visible gallery that plays a vital role in the ecology of London’s world-renowned arts scene, bringing contemporary art and culture to commuters.
“I’m delighted that we were able to help them come to a deal which secures the future of the gallery.”
Now in its 7th year, Banner Repeater is no gimmick in the art world, working with successes like Emma Hart and Jacolby Satterwhite as well as Zarina Muhammad, who has just been in New Contemporaries. The reading room holds art books and publications – an extensive archive, that’s about to be archived online, and which has been exhibited from Dundee to Mexico City.
Speaking to the Citizen in 2013, Banner Repeater founder Ami Clarke explained the nuts and bolts of the project: “We open up at eight in the morning and the platform’s packed. People pick up publications, take them away, have a read, put it down on a tube seat, then someone else picks it up and puts it down on the bus.
“Alternative ideas regarding disseminating artists work is really the driving force of the project.”
The fundraiser, which will be held at Somerset House Studios in Central London from 7pm tomorrow, will feature live sonics from artist Benedict Drew (whose recent Whitechapel Gallery show The Trickle-Down Syndrome was chosen by the Citizen as one of July’s best exhibitions) and a DJ set from Chooc Ly Tan. Five Points Brewery are also supporting the event.
Donations both on the night and through their Localgiving page will all go towards Banner Repeater, who will be raffling off prints of works by artists like the aforementioned Satterwhite and Zarina Muhammad, Anne de Boer and Melanie Jackson, who’ll be offering the production still above (titled Smart Baby) from her project Deeper into the Pyramid.
The gallery is named for a piece of railway equipment: banner repeaters are the trackside led-lit squares which give advance information about a coming signal.
Banner Repeater’s fundraiser runs from 7-11pm at Somerset House Studio’s (WC2R 1LA) Snooker Room, Wednesday 8 November 2017.
The gallery’s normal hours are 8 – 11am Tues – Thurs, 11 – 6pm Fri, 12 – 6pm Sat, 12 – 6pm Sun (during exhibitions)