Building the Fetish

Kenning, Dean [Artist] (2015) Building the Fetish.


Building the Fetish was a research project and ten hour public art event on Granary Square to map the ‘value’ of the multi-billion pound 67 acre private development north of Kings Cross and St Pancras railway stations. It was made in collaboration with BA Fine Art students at Central Saint Martins, the college located on the square. Mixing clay with earth dug from one of the nearby building sites we constructed a three dimensional schematic diagram of the development on top of a plinth. Referring passers-by to an informational map pasted on the surface of the plinth we explained that the relative heights of the lumpy mud towers corresponded to annual estimates of the value-producing power of the buildings and sites they represented - offices, retail units, apartments, restaurants, parks and squares, an art college, a hotel, student accommodation and public amenities. The higher the tower, the larger the economic value. Throughout the day workers, residents and users of the square discussed and debated specific effects of the development and the wider social, cultural and political issues the work raised about ‘value’ as well as the private investor regeneration model adopted by Camden Council. After completion the fetish was left standing in the square until dusk, when it was torn down, and the muddied stone paving washed clean. Building the Fetish was part of ‘Unannounced Acts of Publicness’

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