Eva Bachmann ('HW' © the artist)
'HW' © the artist

Hackney WickED: the highlights

As Hackney WickED Art Festival returns for three days of exhibitions, open studios, performances and participatory events, Time Out gives the lowdown on high times in E3 and E9

When it first arrived in 2008 in the shadow of the nascent Olympic Park, Hackney WickED looked like an art festival with tons of spirit but a limited lifespan: a soon-to-be victim of the gentrification heralded by the Games. But, aside from a fallow season in 2012, the festival has grown bigger every year to become an energetic fixture of summer in London. Here are the 2014 highlights.

Five things not to miss at Hackney WickED

Hackney WickED Art Festival Riviera

Forget Venice or Cannes, the epicentre of this summer’s
essential art festival is the Lee Navigation canal at Forman’s Fish Island. Here you’ll find a music stage showcasing local bands, and the artist stalls and installations of ‘Fate for the WickED’. If you want to arrive in style, book yourself a place on one of the guided kayak trips running from Limehouse (booking essential via www.secretadventures.org).

Forman’s Fish Island, E3 2NT

Swan Wharf exhibition

The festival takes over this beautiful turn-of the-twentieth-century warehouse to show stridently diverse work including Dani Tagen’s insulation tape wall
drawings and Fran Ortega’s TV installation. Look out for roaming performances by Rosie Ridgeway (Friday and Saturday) and Eloise Fornieles (Saturday and Sunday). You shouldn’t have much trouble tracking down Francesco Zuccarello’s ‘Hackney Wick Symphony’. The artist posted a series of blank music scores around Hackney Wick inviting locals to write their own symphony by filling them in. Fed into a computer programme, the resulting soundwork will waft through the space all weekend.

Swan Wharf, Dace Rd, E3 2NQ.

Site-specific artworks

A trio of public art commissions: Photographer Stephen Gill’s billboard is made up of hundreds of images of the area shot between 2004 and 2006 on a 1960s box camera he bought for 50p in Hackney Wick market; 'Psychogeographer' Laura Oldfield Ford is creating a politically-motivated, photorealist work; Daryl Brown is making a sculptural accumulation made of urban detritus.

Open studios

According to urban legend, in east London you’re never more than six feet away from an artist. And without them flinging open their doors, there would be no Hackney WickED. More than 20 buildings are taking part this year (click here for a map).

The Beggars’ Banquet

A nosh-up with a conscience, Saturday’s banquet (booking
essential) treats you to five courses (plus live music and performances) in the knowledge that proceeds from your £25 ticket go to local social enterprises the People’s
kitchen, Rejuce and United Diversity that put London’s food waste to ethical good use. Dig in!

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