We were honoured to have recently worked with Kyle Cheng-Lin Tsai on his recent project, The Space Between, as part of Goldsmiths’ MA Photography and Urban Cultures 2023 group show, Barely Noticed. Giclée Fine Art Prints, Digital C-type Prints and Foamex mounts by Genesis.
Housing, a fundamental human necessity, becomes an extension of our very being, shaping the ways we interact with the world, both physically and emotionally. In the realm of Robin Hood Gardens, an estate on the verge of demolition and redevelopment, we find ourselves at a critical juncture. Initiated in 2022, this project delves into the profound social impact of housing and the evolving urban landscape on the last few inhabitants of this Brutalist masterpiece.
In a world where structures rise and fall and ideologies go through cycles of birth and abandonment, Nietzsche’s concept of “eternal return” is embodied. Repetition, the perpetual process of deconstruction and reconstruction, mirrors the eternal dance of creation and destruction. Beyond the physical realm of architecture, the project delves into the intricate web of emotions, memories, and existence woven within these walls.
Within this project, the images offer more than mere visual documentation; they serve as portals, transporting us into the intimate interiors of Robin Hood Gardens’ residents. These images immortalize spaces where life’s grand tapestry unfolds – a tale of joy, sorrow, and resilience etched into every detail. While glossy new flats beckon elsewhere, these large-format photographs unveil the ageing social housing’s spirit, with its colours resonating with echoes of days gone by.
In the interplay of images, we witness the juxtaposition of the old and the new, a duality that encapsulates the spirit of Robin Hood Gardens. This architectural masterpiece stands as a testament to an era past, a symbol of resilience amidst the ceaseless winds of change. And yet, in the periphery of this relic, we find the emergence of Blackwall Reach – a new chapter in the narrative of urban living.
Blackwall Reach, with its contemporary design and glossy allure, stands as a stark contrast to its predecessor. It embodies modernity’s aspirations, a reflection of evolving architectural paradigms. Within The Space Between, these images serve as a bridge – connecting two epochs and two visions of urban life. They invite us to stand on the threshold of transformation, where the past converges with the future.
Yet, within this juxtaposition, the essence of home remains a constant. Tsai urges us to look beyond the concrete facade, into the human experience that transcends time and architectural aesthetics. It is a testament to the enduring bond between people and the places they call home.
The Space Between bridges the past and the future, offering us a poignant view of progress and heritage’s duality. Amid crumbling structures and shifting ideologies, the human yearning for connection and belonging stands eternal. Here, the past seamlessly merges with the future, and the transient nature of existence finds solace in the permanence of human experience.