Emily Richardson

Memo Mori

An allotment with a boat in it and a building site in the background

Single channel video
23 min
Dir/Prod/Camera/Sound: Emily Richardson
With commentary and readings from Hackney, That Red Rose Empire by Iain Sinclair
Distributed by LUX Distribution.

Memo Mori is a journey through Hackney tracing loss and disappearance. A canoe trip along the canal, the huts of the Manor Garden allotments in Hackney Wick, demolition, relocation, a magical bus tour through the Olympic park and a Hell’s Angel funeral mark a seismic shift in the topography of East London.

This film has been put together from fragments of footage shot over three years, 2006 – 2009 in Hackney, each section being an event or observation of something that has been or is about to be erased from the landscape. It has been woven together with a commentary by Iain Sinclair’s and readings from his book, Hackney, That Red Rose Empire.

The film begins with a canoe trip down the canal, taken with Stephen Gill into the ‘Olympic zone’, where we discovered a shipwreck and a pair of kingfishers before the security barriers came down to the water line. We arrive at the Manor Garden allotments where the huts, each unique, it’s own character, a manifestation of their owners personality perhaps, sadly about to be demolished to make way for what we do not really know – an Olympic park or car park or something. We take a magical bus tour around the Olympic park in the Demolish, Dig and Design phase, which, as Iain says in the film, is all statistics and logistics, piles of mud and no photography. Then to a Hells Angels funeral, death on the motorway, martyred and immortalised on Hackney Rd with wreaths of flowers, Satan’s Slaves, RIP in black roses.

Hackney, That Red Rose Empire by Iain Sinclair is published by Hamish Hamilton and available from all good bookshops.