“In Tower XYZ I wanted to feature my experience of living in Hackney and document London's ever-changing landscape. I wondered if I did not capture it, would people know of an African fabric shop called Afrique Fabrics that once shone majestically on Kingsland High Street for many years? I wanted to see myself and my community represented in a way that was authentic. In the film, you are seeing street-cast multiethnic folks - most from first-generation families. The female narrator reclaims the gaze and the characters navigate the city in a cool, certain stance rather than becoming victims to the eroding landscape. After watching Steve McQueen's early art films and various auteurs like Harmony Korine and Chantal Akerman I was very moved. With Akerman, I was influenced by how she responded to urban alienation and how multifaceted her characters were, particularly in her 1977 documentary, News From Home. It motivated me to make films to provoke a certain feeling - don't question, just do!” - A.A.
Read the Tower XYZ Manifesto here.
Ayo Akingbade is a filmmaker and artist from Hackney, East London. Her first short film, In Ur Eye, explored gentrification in her local area. Ayo addresses themes of identity and socio-economics through use of documentary. She is currently working on a project about a Brixtonite housing activist and studying towards a BA in film at London College of Communication.