Concrete Heart Land exposes the social cleansing of the Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle, South London. Assembled from 12 years of archive materials, the film charts the struggles of the local community to keep their homes, stay living in the area, and maintain communal benefits in the face of the advance of this now notorious 'urban redevelopment programme'. Throughout the film we hear the community engaging in some of the crucial battles with elected officials, planners, and barristers in municipal planning meetings, public enquiries, and interviews.
Weaving through these recordings is a performance staged in 2012 on the then still inhabited estate. An assembled group of past and present residents, community activists, and critics of the Heygate plans chant texts composed from phrases used in the Regeneration Masterplan. The performances parody the technical language of regeneration and the aspirational language of gentrification. Over the course of 2012 and 2013 we filmed panoramic video images of the estate and interiors of some of the Heygate flats, all of which feature in the film.
Having evicted the last residents in November 2013, Southwark Council and the developer Lend Lease are currently working towards the wider gentrification of the area. The film marks the moment that the estate was finally lost as social housing to make way for an unjust 'regeneration' scheme.
Filmmakers Steven Ball and Rastko Novakovic will both be present for a discussion about the film and the wider struggle for housing in the city. Steven and Rastko are very much part of no.w.here’s extended community of artists, filmmakers, and community organisers.