Choosing Soho as my postcode was not by plan. One day after finishing my visit to Leicester Square, (can’t remember why I went there though) I decided to walk around instead of going straight home. So I went down the road and, guess what! I found the street where Oasis shot their album cover! I might mention in the previous blog, I love Britpop, and Oasis is the first band I listened to. That really means a big deal for me. And as I walk around, I saw some really cool vinyl shops, and a giant musical instrument shop, in which there’re nothing I can afford but still, very cool. Also the famous Carnaby Street is now decorated with neon lights of lyrics from Bohemian Rhapsody, again I mention in the previous blog, I really love Queen, and I cried when watching the film.
“This is it.” I told myself, feeling there’s a fire in my chest.
In the following week, actually few weeks, I went to Soho for about 5 times, to take pictures, to eat, to visit galleries, to get to know more about this place.
I took very quick photos, which I think is very helpful to gather as much information as possible. And I created series of pictures of the same block, they look quite cool, a bit like a storyboard of what’s happening at this place.
However, after a little research online, I found that Soho used to be an even cooler place, with all those bands like Beatles and AC/DC, Pink Floyd playing lives and recording, there were loads of record shops, cool stuffs going on all the time. But now, even though I can still find a lot of elements of music, it’s already been washed off a lot. Remembering the record shops I was in, they are so small, being squeezed by Paperchase and other trendy shops and cafe. And my teacher Lucy told me that’s called gentrification.
A lot of posts online are talking about this problem, saying that Soho, a place once for alternative, is now becoming more and more commercialised, like everywhere else. Which is so sad, but that might be a good perspective to look at.
Sticking on the idea of gentrification is also because of I was doing a research of mental control being inspired by one of the works in the exhibition Strange Days. Soho is becoming like everywhere else, because all those company think a lot of people like places like that, stylish, fancy, good place to make good instagram pictures. But is that what they really want? Or they’re just following the trend. I looked into quite a few articles online and also books about it, which makes me kind of proud of myself, because I was able to link my project and other people’s work together, and look deeper into this. And later I drew inspiration from the film Agora, and decided to personify Soho to a girl who was changed herself to become famous.
Just like this ridiculer news! People dress themselves like Kim instead of being themselves, trying to be attractive?
I would say that I really make a progress on doing primary and secondary research compare to my last project. My sketch book is much fuller, and not just full of random stuffs, but the stuffs that mark the process of my discovery and thoughts. It’s not perfect though, I feel like I should get myself more involved in the place but I was a bit scared. But generally I think I’ve done not bad.