Hackney s platform for art

An artist-run reading room and contemporary arts space residing on a railway platform in Hackney is intriguing and informing commuters who are increasingly interacting with its work.

Banner Repeater s transient environment on Platform One at Hackney Downs station has the potential to reach 4,000 commuters passing through the station each day. Its arts programme of exhibitions, events, performance and written material seek to engage, educate and inspire the people it encounters and, judging by how word is spreading, it s working!

The emphasis on multiple points of dissemination via pamphlets and posters published from the site and other other free material Banner Repeater distributes, as well as its on-line activities and the archive of artists’ printed material as a public library; a resource to be utilised by both local community and visitors in a working station environment, are key to its success. As passengers pick up the alternative literature left behind by other readers and more visitors speak of their experience, Banner Repeater is increasingly becoming a destination in its own right.

The venture began as part of a series of projects supported by Hackney Council s Art in Empty Spaces initiative, designed to transform empty properties or spaces into something useful and meaningful for Hackney’s residents and visitors.

Ami Clarke, artist and founder of Banner Repeater, said: "I wanted to find a way to engage a non-specific audience with art in an interesting, non-threatening environment. Artists who exhibit or write for Banner Repeater are interested by its concept and unusual setting, and this often influences the work they produce. The response has been fantastic and even though more and more people are becoming familiar with who we are, every day we get a surprised visitor who did not expect to stumble across us on a railway platform."

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said: "Banner Repeater is an extraordinary experience in an extraordinary environment and brought about by an extraordinary partnership. I would like to know were else you would find a Station Manager and a curator working together creating an experience that captures your attention, fires your imagination and introduces new audiences to art and expression through contemporary literature. Banner Repeater showcases the innovative and creative talent found across Hackney and is bringing a whole new meaning to visiting Hackney Downs railway station!"

Up and coming exhibitions and events at the space include: The Map is the Territory (opens 17 February), which looks at how the technology that now drives our world might affect art and artists production. Nesting somewhere in the middle of the exhibition will be an episodic group event, Re-Run , displaying a different digital video loop every day for 14 days. In relation to the key themes of publishing, distribution, and dissemination, a talk on the 17 March 1-3pm How it s kicking off everywhere will be considering how the technology that facilitates consumerism of capitalism is at some core level implicit in our ability to act politically.

For more information about Art in Empty Spaces, please visit: For more information on Banner Repeater visit:


Notes to editors

Further details on up and coming events:

The Map is the Territory includes newly commissioned work from Benedict Drew, exhibited in a group show with Tim Head and Christopher Rawcliffe. Re-Run is curated by Majed Aslam and Fay Nicolson and includes work by: Actress, Ayshay, Majed Aslam, Nathan Barlex, David Blandy, Ami Clarke, Jess Flood-Paddock, Dean Kissick, Gil Leung, Chooc Ly Tan, Fay Nicolson, Damien Roach, Oliver Smith, Jesse Wine.

How it s kicking off everywhere includes speakers: Paul Mason, financial journalist and economics editor for Newsnight and recent author of "Why It s Kicking Off Everywhere", Nathan Charlton, technologist and director of Big Ideas, and Andrew McGettigan, author of the blog Critical Education and also of the Big Ideas team.

Other events include: Esther Leslie, Professor in Political Aesthetics, Birkbeck, talking about Liquid Crystals, Phosphor-fluorescence and the New-Old , and we will be publishing new writing by Nina Power, lecturer at the Royal College Critical Writing in Art and Design Programme and Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Roehampton University, who will be considering how different technologies mediate the experience of writing, reading, and publishing.