‘We all have a destructive element within us,’ says artist Joel Cahen, who founded Scrap Club with musician Wajid Yaseen in 2007.
This Sunday, get in touch with your inner Luddite in a car park in Hackney Wick, without fear of an ASBO. In fact, Scrap Club is an intensely social experience — ‘visceral, passionate, exhilarating,’ in Cahen’s words — more akin to a dance floor than a rubbish dump.
To the drumbeat of industrial salvage, participants wield sledgehammers to trash whatever disused and defunct electrical appliances have been accumulated for the occasion. It’s not just a free-for-all though, with ten people at a time being permitted 10 minutes of mayhem in the Scrap Pit. The club offers a ‘controlled environment’ where you can find an outlet for all those violent fantasies devised amid tube rage or desk-bound breakdown. First aiders will be within reach and gloves, goggles and hard hats issued, but in essence, it’s a triumph of anarchic impulse over Health and Safety.
Having gained a cult following from destructivist art devotees and stressed out office workers alike, this weekend’s event has been endowed with extra significance by circumstance. Although the 9/11 date is more by accident than design, there’s certainly an added gravitas in coinciding with the ten year anniversary of what Cahen calls ‘the most influential destructive event of the 21st century’ on a site dwarfed by the 2012 Olympic stadium. ‘It’s not a political act, but we want to remind people of the destructive process inherent in regeneration,’ Cahen explains. Nor can the curators or ‘clubbers’ ignore the fall out from this summer’s riots. Paradoxically, Scrap Club may even help exorcise some of those ‘smash and grab’ demons, as people take back the control from the tyranny of objects that we seemingly can’t live with - and can’t live without.
By Kirsty McQuire
Scrap Club is outdoors in Forman's Smokehouse Gallery car park, Stour Road, Hackney Wick E3 2NT on Sunday, 11 September between 1.30-5.30pm. Tickets £10.