Thames Gateway Forum
The collective buzz word is ‘global warming’ - now recognised as being the end result of bad practice. But which bad practice is the culprit? Poor design, over production, increasing levels of demand, shifts in expectations, ideological beliefs… As a design and media company we tussle with a mass of contradictions that design entails - the cause and effect of everything we do: how to sustain our commitment to ethical and responsible trading practices without depleting or polluting the pot - how to keep the work flowing without inconsiderate or wasteful production. As a media production company ArtZone documents and reports on events of local and national importance. Our video and photographic documentary archive materials are used by campaign and policy organisations and the knowledge we have built up informs our design production work. An event which ArtZone has covered for a number of years is The Thames Gateway Forum.
The Thames Gateway has always been at risk of flooding. Whether by rising sea levels, or massed populations that bring the concreting of land, depletion of escape routes and extreme demands that stimulate yet more polution. Since 1996 ArtZone has visually documented the ‘Gateway’ - starting from the legacy of the LDDC to the building of the Dome, landfill sites, City Airport, river transport, nature reserves, flood risk areas. The political versus the business interests have shifted over recent years. The universal collapse of the financial markets appear to have sealed the shift away from a Gateway stuffed with tacky buildings. ArtZone’s video and photographic documentation of this event has provided resources for a number of company promotions along with our input into seminars and discussions on the creative economy and ecology of London.
This year‘s star turn at the Forum was the ever popular Ken Livingstone - former Mayor of London. In contrast to his earlier disconcerting ‘mayoral’ comments about a gateway full of imported hi tech corporations and massed alien populations he now spoke of an environment that has no choice but to incorporate nature and good design to ensure regional survival.
We like to think that ArtZone Co-op helped remind Livingstone about the power of the creative industries. In 2008 our skills were put to the design and development of a visual arts auction website ArtBid4Ken and the mobilisation of visual artists who helped raise (in a couple of hours) £250k funds for the Livingstone mayoral election campaign.