Brick Lane Foundation

Old Police Station, Spitalfields & Banglatown, London, 2021

Repurposed by Abbas Zahedi, the disused Police Station on Brick Lane becomes a space for social evaluation: the Brick Lane Foundation. Inspired by the processes of critique in art school, Zahedi highlights concerns around migrant histories and the gentrification of East London; by reframing the role of the police, as a force concerned with the feedback and feelings of local people.

In the run up to the festival, Zahedi reconnected with Tower Hamlets Councillor Puru Miah, so as to explore the possibility of how this partnership with Whitechapel Gallery can initiate a means of handing the police station over to local residents. To this end, a repurposed streetlight illuminates the artist’s main question amidst the churn of regeneration: ‘how does it feel?’ Collecting responses via QR codes and oral conversations; furthermore, Zahedi will expand this polling, using numerous methods, to collect and share data relating to this question.

In the parallel Police Book Exchange project, participants can donate or suggest books they would like members of the police to read. A selection of these are then made available in the Brick Lane Foundation space.