The first 2016 People Power project is the culmination of 10 workshops developed by SPACE artists Adam Blencowe and Thor ter Kulve to explore the creative possibilities of art, technology and engineering with Yr 9 girls at The Petchey Academy in Hackney.

The idea for creating a ‘camp’ developed out these sessions and forms the framework within which Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs could be examined, while simultaneously providing a practical canvas for students to progress their own ideas on the themes of hacking, technology and hypothetical methods of living.

Working in groups the students have been given identical ‘tent’ frames that must be developed and constructed on given topics such as generating power, quantifying health or entertainment. At the end of the project the students will present 5 radically different tents that together will form a ‘neo-kibbo kift’ encampment that references and celebrates the freedom to rethink how society functions and the role of technology within this.  

Research was carried out into historical and contemporary examples, including work by artists and designers Lucy Orta, Hussein Chalayan, Jonas Staal and Walter Pichler. Practical tasks based on these concepts included deconstructing simple electronic objects and repurposing them for alternative uses.

Finally the students will design and make an imaginary campsite which will be exhibited at The White Building in the autumn term.

Blencowe and Kulve are both interested in Adhocism and Hacking as a basis for building alternative systems for living – for example the Drop City art commune of the 1960s in which a group of artists subsisted on the waste derived from American mass consumerism.