Amelia’s Magazine | Rivington Place – A different take on the plight of Globalisation and the textiles industry

Check out the range of talks and discussions this week, treatment there is a chance to vent some anger at some cops in a more legitimate manner than normal as well as plenty of events pushing for action on a deal at the Copenhagen Climate Change Talks.

Illustration by Anneka Tran

Architecture and Climate Change – The Sustainable City
Tuesday 3rd November 2009 ?

Acclaimed architect, treat planner and former Mayor of Curitiba, sale Jaime Lerner, discusses his visionary ideas concerning cities and their future. Lerner’s talk will look at design in structuring urban growth as well as focusing on the importance of public transportation as well as engaging with some of the key issues affecting the built and natural environment now and in the future.

Time: 6.30pm
£8, £5 concession
Venue: RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD

Fast Facilitation – An action-packed taster course
Wednesday 4th November 2009

Getting a group together focusing on environmental issues in your neighborhood, or looking to take a new role in a discussion group? This course is suitable for people with little or no experience of facilitation. This course aims to help you design, facilitate and evaluate meetings or workshops that engage and include all participants effectively in order to achieve desired outcomes.

Time: 9.30am – 5.00pm
Venue: 212 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7BF

Establishing a food forest: the Permaculture way
Thursday 5th November 2009?

An inspiring and practical film from permaculturist Geoff Lawton about the potential of permaculture forest gardening to design abundant human ecosystems. Part of a programme of film and events to accompany C Words: Carbon, Climate, Capital, Culture – an exhibition by artist-activist group PLATFORM and their collaborators.

Venue: Arnolfini, Bristol

Met open discussion about policing of the G20
Thursday 5th November 2009


The Met police will be hosting a public meeting about policing of the G20 demonstrations, chances for people to vet their anger, frustration or glee at seeing protestors get beaten up. The police will be answering questions and making sure the media see they are taking some initiative, although I’m sure continuing their oppressive tactics away from the spotlight.

Time: 9.30am – 12.30pm
Venue: London’s Living Room, City Hall

Climate Emergency Copenhagen forum
Saturday 7th November 2009

Looking everything we need to do to stop climate change in it’s tracks, 10% cuts by end 2010 and the case for emergency action. Creating a million climate jobs by end 2010, decarbonising our transport fast and looking at the Copenhagen talks, and the deal we need and the deal we’re likely to get. Plus plenty of workshops on the day.

Venue: South Camden Community School, Charrington St., London, NW1 1RG
?Time: 12 – 6pm

Put People First G20 Counter Conference
Saturday 7th November 2009


The Put People First G20 Counter Conference will bring together academics, activists, campaigners, unions and policy makers to debate alternative policies to promote jobs, justice and a safe climate. Following on from earlier this year, where we marched in our tens of thousands to demand the G20 Put People First. However, we’ve seen nothing but a return to business as usual.

Time: 10am – 5.30pm
Venue: Central Hall Westminster SW1 9NH

Green Sundays
Sunday 8th November 2009

Bored with lazy Sunday afternoons? Why not go down to Green Sundays at the Arcola Theatre and explore environmental issues in a relaxed and chilled out manner? The event provides an opportunity for like-minded people to get together to learn about the planet while listening to live world music, film, spoken word, games and discussion.

Time: 3:00pm – 7:30pm
Venue: Arcola Theatre, 27 Arcola St, London, E8 2DJ


An East London gem, buy Rivington Place constantly succeeds in delivering aesthetic art with a hidden political punch and the current show is no exception. Currently on display is NS Harsha’s installation Nations and Chen Chieh’s silent film Factory.

Installed on the ground floor, drugs the silent sewing machines of Nations are stacked three feet high, unhealthy spinning threads tangles and pools between the machines. The flags of those included in the UN hang from each poised needle. If able to match each flag to the correct country would the viewer see who is excluded from the UN and question on what grounds in today’s society a country is judged for their eligibility to join?


In the context of East London’s own sweatshop history, the machines act as representatives of the unseen and unheard garment workers that throughout the centuries have consistently made clothes for countries both inside and outside the UN.

In terms of the textile manufacturing no country has a clear conscious that they have not broken the charter of human rights with regards to the treatment of employees. The exhibition refers to the impact of globalisation; as located within NS Harsha’s words (with thanks to INIVA’s excellent website) “This work took shape after my visit to a local small scale textile factory in which I personally experienced the realities of ‘human labour’. Hierarchies and exploitation are part of today’s global economic order. Nations engages with these socio-political complexities and cultural entanglements.”?


The exhibition is suggestive that as industry is now global, it is not enough to look after one’s own population, by choosing to outsource globally, the boundaries of countries disappear.

Upstairs is Chen Chieh’s beautiful and slightly chilling Factory. The film is located within an old textile factory, the casualty of the continuing search for ever cheapening labour. Seven ex-workers who lost their right to a pension with the closure of the factory accompany the artist. The camera pans through the monumental architectural space in a similar vein to the films of Jane and Louise Wilson (Stasi City).


Due to the women’s request the film silently traces their steps through the disused building, still occupied by the remains of their industry. Their passage through the space is occasionally interrupted by archive footage of the Taiwan textile boom, the noisy interruption highlighting those abandoned in the aforementioned search for ever cheaper labour.

The women of Factory are physical reminders of those all over the world, whose quality of life has come to depend on the presence of the textile industry within their country. It’s time that these employees were treated to the rights we so often take for granted whether it is something as simple as a lunch break or as fundamental as a living wage.


The exhibition asks us to question both our reliance and ignorance of outsourced workers at the same time as questioning our knowledge of political intricacies and deals made by the UN that effect relationships across the world.

There are many fantastic websites that continue the work begun by both artists at Rivington Place from the Ethical Fashion Forum, the Clean Clothes Campaign to Fashioning an Ethical Industry, and the War on Want. Green my Style provides daily updates on the steps been made to make the industry greener.


However as Factory so clearly shows a lot remains to be done, to protect those whose lives have come to depend on the West’s need for ever cheaper clothes.

This exhibition continues until the 21st November 2009, hurry down!

The first three photographs are by George Torode and the last three are stills from Chen Chieh’s Factory.

Categories ,art, ,Chen Chieh, ,Clean Clothes Campaign, ,Ethical Fashion Forum, ,factory, ,fashion, ,INIVA, ,Labour behind the Label, ,Nations, ,NS Harsha, ,Rivington Place, ,textiles, ,UN, ,War on Want

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