A high street is where an exchange of time and money within a community takes place, it acts as a mirror that portrays what the locality produces and consumes. Clapham High Street has become a place catered primarily towards the nightlife, the party goers and the fun seekers. One can get beautiful in the local salons, gyms and barbers, consume fun with one’s friends in Revolution, Infernos or Aquum night clubs and bars, then eat fast in one of the nearby eateries, get rehabilitated in the premises of a church and escorted home by a kind taxi men from the local taxi stand. It is an efficient and profitable chain of consumption that it is sold successfully to some of us.
But is this a true reflection of what Clapham community wants or merely and a vigorously promoted lifestyle that sells? Could we recreate this success and sell an alternative form of consumption, one that is owned by all, marketed aggressively, not aimed at making profit, but rather at the act of bettering the locality, the community, the world?
Let’s create an alternative type of consumption, a framework for common activity. Let’s build a Lyceum, let’s make a place that functions as a cultural common, a public forum. Lyceum could be powered by its users, perhaps a bit like Youtube; a base of subscribers, or commoners, that congregate and in turn activate the space and in turn ignite public debate. Lyceum could reclaim the underutilised buildings in the high street. In the case of Clapham High Street Lyceum could utilise the space inside the unused air raid shelters. The giant billboards could act as signs, or messages, or symbols of the locality; the billboards could carry and portray the thoughts and opinions of the local residents.
Migle Pikelyte and Geoffrey Fung are architectural assistants based in Brixton and Peckham respectively and both live in Clapham.
They are interested in the ideas of communication and symbolism in architecture and how these concepts directly affect our everyday perceptions and behaviours within society.
They believe in change through conversation, and that change in society is rooted in the change in communities.