Last week marked the opening of the SEFT-1 Abandoned Railways Exploration Probe exhibition at the Furtherfield Gallery in Finsbury Park. The project was the idea behind Ivan Puig and Andrés Padilla Domene, who built a railway exploration vehicle and then spent two years travelling along the abandoned passenger railways of Ecuador and Mexico capturing images, videos and objects. They then shared their experiences online as a live interactive blog (www.seft1.com).
In lieu of the exhibition opening, the gallery hosted a series of other events including a walking tour of the Parkland Walk (previously part of the rail network) with landscape architect Tim Waterman which examined the route in greater detail. Tim himself sums up the walk excellently himself: “Death needs time for what it kills to grow in” wrote William S Burroughs. True, but so is its opposite. Life needs what death kills to grow in. Hope has its roots in ruin. This walk, along a disused railway line between Finsbury Park and Highgate will explore how vicious nature and the ruthless engines of urban decay can show us a new way of imagining utopia.” The afternoon itself was a conversation between locals and visitors (me included) discussing the how the disused railway had been adopted by both the occupants and nature and how the two were struggling to find a balance. It was interesting to see how neither boroughs of Haringey or Islington took ownership of the path (it runs between the two) and it was up to volunteers to upkeep the route and bring new ideas of whether to try and regenerate or let nature reclaim the path.
By Harriet @ Yelo