Wormwood Haunts

Stehlikova, T. Forthcoming. Wormwood Haunts.

TitleWormwood Haunts
CreatorsStehlikova, T.

This cross-disciplinary project aims to capture and reflect on a unique, yet under-appreciated part of London, covering Wormwood scrubs and Willesden Junction. Currently part of Old Oak Common regeneration, the place is about to be transformed beyond recognition. The film asks questions about the importance of non-places, rights of way, private and public property and importance of preserving unique heritage.

Worm Wood is an ambitious poetic documentary project, which I will make in collaboration with poet Steven J Fowler, who will provide poetry and fragments of spoken narrative. The resulting impressionistic film will document and reflect on the ongoing transformation of Wormwood Scrubs and Willesden Junction, as it is redeveloped through the Old Oak Common regeneration project (http://www.oldoakpark.co.uk/about-the-area.aspx). The aim is to capture and preserve some of the existing unique places, record conversations with its residents, before these disappear, transformed into a “Canary Wharf” of northwest London. The film will become an "object" of memory keeping, an archive, while also asking questions about the importance of protecting liminal landscapes, often overlooked industrial zones, non-places. Can these be just dismissed as ugly, unimportant? And what does this all mean in relation to the rights of way, our sense of ownership, or even belonging, versus being excluded, unwelcome?
While rooted in the specific, local, there are also more universal themes at play: such as what is the tension between the need to modernise, expand, accommodate and the equally important one to preserve, protect, respectful? At a time when there is so much pressure on resources, what is the value of an undefined, unarticulated space?
Willesden Junction features in writing of John Berger (Railtracks), a book I co-published and the selected text of which I would like to also include in the film, as it provides another rich layer of meaning and history.

Web address (URL)https://cinestheticfeasts.wordpress.com/2018/08/21/strange-empire/
Image creditTereza Stehlikova

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