Edgeland is a short film by artist Sally Mumby-Croft, co-directed by Xavier Zapata. Shot entirely around Hackney Wick it uses voice overs from local people to document the changes effecting the area in the face of the 2012 Olympic Developments. Watch the film below and read an introduction by Xavier Zapata.
Out on the eastern fringe, the Lower Lea Valley is a vanishing place. Here the hulking skeleton of the Olympic Park is growing. The Olympic Delivery Authority say the area is "contaminated, derelict and abandoned." But a void is a blank slate upon which all colours can be projected. In this film we wanted to explore the spectrums of life that flourished in the pre-Olympian valley. The idea came when we found out that part of the Olympics' development programme was to build a coach park over some of the football pitches used by the Hackney and Leyton Sunday Football League. If you've ever walked along the marshes on a Sunday morning you'll know how the marshes echo with the shouts and cheers of hard-swearing athletes from some of London's poorest boroughs. Johnny Walker, Chairman of the League, told us that losing the pitches would put massive strain on the league and could even threaten its existence. His anxiety is real, islands of life have disappeared. Manor Garden allotments, an improvised ecology of 80 plots, yielded harvests to feed 150 families. It began almost a hundred years ago but slap bang in the middle of the Olympic site it had to go. We wanted to celebrate the spontaneity of life in this unregulated landscape, interrogate the wisdom of London 2012, and re-imagine the landscape. You see shots of the half-built park, and hear stories of what used to exist. You never see the pre-Olympian worlds; you can only imagine these fragments of history hidden in the landscape. Edgelands is not a nostalgic reckoning up of the past. These shards of history are a wake up call, to shake us out of our acceptance of the status quo and re-imagine the trajectory of the present.