Time Is Away
Fable Of The Bees

01/02/20 to 14/03/20, Thursday to Saturday 12-6pm
Time is Away: Fable of the Bees proposes a suggestive municipal environment, activated by sound, to invoke the ghosts of urban improvement.
This project has been generously supported by Arts Council England and the Exhibitions Hub in the Department of Art at Goldsmiths. The Closing Event features contributions from Bushis, Gyeongsu and Rahim, Xvarr.

The title, taken from Bernard Mandeville’s provocative celebration of the public benefits of private interests, resonates with London’s central role in entangled histories of global finance capitalism, colonialism, urban planning and speculative development. Each part of this story is underpinned by value-laden ideas of urban improvement, which have shaped what the built environment looks like, how it is used and who it is for. 

Fable of the Bees is conceived as a loose dialogue between three centuries’ of ‘spatial specialists’, including architects, planners, speculators, financial stakeholders and government, and counter narratives of persistence, resistance, resourcefulness and ad-hoc building. At its heart are the tensions between visions of the city as prospected, mapped, surveyed, costed and sold, and other versions pieced together from disparate evidence of diverse lived experiences. By harnessing found audio, specially made recordings, texts, images and objects, this project restores to view multiple versions of London. 

Time is Away are London-based duo Jack Rollo and Elaine Tierney. Over six years as residents on NTS Radio, they have used spoken word, field recordings and music as part of their ongoing reflection on the relationship between time, place, power, identity and history-making. Their approach is open-ended, associative, polyphonic and, in places, deliberately opaque, producing a distinctive sonic atmosphere in which to ruminate.

Events Programme:

Saturday 1st February, 6–9pm: Opening

Saturday 22nd February, 4–6pm: ‘Resisting Improvement’ Reading Group, led by Jack Rollo and Elaine Tierney. Participants will reflect on the construction of ideas about urban improvement in the past, explore how this informs thinking about cities in the present and collectively identify ways of doing things differently in the future. 

Monday 24th February, 3–4pm: ‘Time is Away: Fable of the Bees’ broadcast on NTS Radio. Listen here.

Saturday 14th March, 6–9pm: Join us for the Exhibition Closing when music and food activates a utopian moment in South East London. Contributions from Bushis, Gyeongsu and Rahim (Bruits de la Passion), Time is Away and Xvarr.

N.b: Exhibition Closing was cancelled due to the pandemic. What was supposed to be a party became something more reflective, delivered to a small audience of friends and collaborators. A recording of the evening can be heard here.

All events are free and open to everyone.