Performance: Yogurt Weaving

Tom Estes’ Performance ‘Yogurt Weaving’ took place on a small hill called 'Dr. Watt’s Mound', the exact same spot where Isaac Watts, recognised as the "Father of English Hymnody" wrote many of his famous hyms (17 July 1674 – 25 November 1748).

Dr. Watts Mound
Isaac Watts was the first prolific and popular English hymnwriter, credited with some 750 hymns. Sacred music scholar Stephen Marini (2003) describes the ways in which Watts contributed to English hymnody.Notably, Watts led the way in the inclusion in worship of "original songs of Christian experience"; that is, new poetry. The older tradition limited itself to the poetry of the Bible, notably the Psalms. This stemmed from the teachings of the 16th century Reformation leader John Calvin, who initiated the practice of creating verse translations of the Psalms in the vernacular for congregational singing. Watts' introduction of extra-Biblical poetry opened up a new era of Protestant hymnody as other poets followed in his path.


The Abney Park Trust
Estes' Performance 'Yogurt Weaving' took place on Saturday, the 11th of September at Abney Park as part of an event organised by ArtEvict.The heiroglyphs over the lodges at Abney Park read, 'The Gates of the Abode of the Mortal Part of Man'. One of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries created in the early Victorian period, Abney Park, extends over 32 acres and was the London Congregationalists pioneering non-denominational place of rest opened as a model garden cemetery in 1840. 

The overall effect of building of Abney Park was to establish the most impressively landscaped garden cemetery of its period. The elaborate planting scheme may also be a reflection of the symbolic importance the founding directors attached to the land that formed Abney Park Cemetery. As nonconformists, who treasured the independence of their religious beliefs—and therefore practised Christianity outside of the established Church of England they held the land itself to be of immense significance as it had previously been two neighbouring and inter-related 18th-century parkland estates, the grounds of Abney House and Fleetwood House, where the non-conformist Doctor of Divinity, educationalist and poet Dr. Issacs Watts lived and taught, and indeed wrote several of his popular books and hymns.

In the 1970s, the commercial cemetery company went into liquidation. Burial rights ceased when the private company closed in 1978, and it was not until 2009 that Abney Park became scheduled as one of Britain's historic parks and gardens at risk from neglect and decay. Local people prostested at the closure of the cemetery to the public and the resulting formation of The Abney Park Trust enabled the park to facilitate a wide range of projects in the arts, education, nature conservation and walking/recreation, besides offering new memorial trees and benches where ashes are scattered, and the occasional discretionary or courtesy burial. 

Since its conception in December 2009 ArtEvict has established itself as an open yet critical platform for practicing and emerging artists to present new work in live art, bringing ideas to a forum for discussion and re-evaluation.

ArtEvict @ Abney Park, Stoke Newington, artists included:

Agnes Yit
Lynn Lu
Tom Estes
Kiki Taira
Fabiola Paz