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Hackney meets its history in an Electric Bloom

Fancy a night-time walk around Hackney on 12th September? That’s your chance to join an immersive trail around Hackney, taking in artwork created by residents and professionals at heritage landmarks, with audio stories shared by local residents reflecting Hackney’s past, present and future. Also on show are permanent and temporary light installations, and the sound backdrop will be provided by the premiere of an original Electric Bloom music composition by Rowland Sutherland and Orphy Robinson performed by emerging musicians from Hackney.

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The event is the culmination of an Electric Bloom project which has seen artists working with the Hackney community and the council for six months. It’s been a real multicultural project, involving workshops across art, film, animation, music, the spoken word, textiles and garden design with experienced artists and musicians.

Over 200 years ago Hackney was a cultural destination for visitors from around the globe, home to London’s textile industry and the largest botanical hothouse in the world – and it’s this legacy that the project has been exploring.

They have found traces of these local activities throughout the streets and buildings of the borough. In the 18th century the Loddiges family built the largest hothouse in the world, creating a tropical rainforest in the heart of Hackney. The green fingered pioneers were responsible for bringing sights from destinations people could only dream of, introducing exotic species to this country for the first time including orchids, rhododendron, rhubarb and hummingbirds.

Hackney’s textile roots are just as impressive. By 1900 it was home to hundreds of factories and workshops and employing over 15,000 people.

hackney 1The Electric Bloom trail is free to attend and centres around St. John’s, with a number of installations nearby. You can follow the trail via an app which will be available to download from 10th September. An exhibition displaying pieces from the Electric Bloom workshops is also now open at Sutton House.

The Electric Bloom project is being conceived and produced by SDNA, a creative studio based in London producing distinctive digital artwork in collaboration with creative producer, Clare Moloney and project partners Hackney Archives, Hackney Historic Buildings Trust, Hackney Society, London Metropolitan Archives, Morningside Children’s Centre, and St Johns at Hackney, SPACE Studios, Sutton House and Trelawney Estate Resident’s Association. Electric Bloom is supported by the London Borough of Hackney, the Arts Council England the Heritage Lottery Fund and the PRS.

For more information on Electric Bloom, go to: www.electricbloom.org.