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Wherever I lay my hat
Peckham, London
Wherever I lay my hat is a filmed performance that explores housing inequality, social stereotyping and community.

Charlene Chaplin

Referencing the Charlie Chaplin film, The Vagabond (1916), ‘Wherever I lay my hat’ features Charlene Chaplin- a pregnant young woman camping outside of the demolished Heygate Estate in Peckham (a site that once housed 3,000 people).

Wherever I Lay my Hat event

‘Wherever I lay my hat’ was also an event that drew together different people living in Peckham who were invited to discuss the impact demolition of the Heygate Estate.

Wherever I lay my hat

Still from ‘Wherever I Lay my Hat’, Peckham, 2015
Shot in and around where I lived in Peckham, South London, ‘Wherever I Lay my Hat’ is a response to the ongoing housing crisis in the UK. I made this performative film to be shown at Wells Way occupied community centre and project space in Burgess Park Peckham as part of wider community led actions about housing, community and identity.

The context

Following my residency in Slovenia, I returned to live in Peckham, South London in 2014 to find that the housing crisis I’d blissfully escaped from for a year was even more intensified. The exponential growth in the private rental market and the shortage of social housing was then (as it is now) a major issues with far reaching social implications.

‘Campmuters’ (Christain Koch, The Evening Standard) are predominantly professional individuals who commute to work from campsites and parks on the outskirts of London due to prohibitively expensive rental rates. ‘Wherever I lay my hat’ is inspired by and references these real life stories and questions what distinguishes a home from a shelter.

Wherever I Lay My Hat

‘Wherever I lay my hat’ features ‘Charlene Chaplin’, a visibly pregnant young woman who is camping outside the demolished Heygate Estate in Peckham (a site that once housed 3,000 people). The film references the slapstick comedy used in Charlie Chaplin’s silent films who was born in South London and worked in a Workhouse in Elephant and Castle.

In films like ‘The vagabond’ Charlie Chaplin uses slapstick comedy to reveal shocking attitudes towards equality and poverty. ‘Wherever I lay my hat also uses the device of slapstick in order to highlight contemporary issues connected to economic marginalisation inequality and social stereotyping.