Electric Bloom

– explored the incredible hidden history of Hackney Central by working with the residents, visitors and the local council for over a year, stimulating imaginations through a series of artist-led workshops, events and installations, which combined different disciplines including digital and interactive art, music, spoken word, visual art, textiles and garden design.
Electric Bloom culminated in a large scale event featuring permanent and temporary light installations, an immersive app-led trail and the premiere of an original Electric Bloom music composition by Rowland Sutherland and Orphy Robinson performed by emerging musicians from Hackney.


Hackney Electric Bloom 2015 was a public art and heritage project led by SDNA, commissioned by London Borough of Hackney and supported by Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and PRS Music Foundation.
The project incorporated local sites and historical landmarks in and around Hackney Central and researched the origins of Hackney’s long-held reputation for being a fashionable borough, attracting a range of artists, crafts-people and innovators. In particular Electric Bloom sought to showcase the achievements of the Loddiges family – botanists who settled in Hackney in the late 18th century, created the largest hothouse in the world and introduced exotic species to this country for the first time including orchids, rhododendron, rhubarb and hummingbirds, drawing visitors from around the globe. Electric Bloom also highlighted Hackney’s impressive textile heritage.
Over the course of one year we collaborated with a team of artists, creative producers and designers to create and deliver a programme to bring different Hackney communities together and strengthen their connections to their rich local heritage. The programme included a series of very successful workshops in fine art, textiles, garden design, spoken word, music/sound art, film, animation and digital media delivered to 480 Hackney residents of different ages, interests and backgrounds and.
Work produced by participants was showcased in an exhibition at Sutton House, a tudor era heritage site and also inspired a series of temporary and permanent digital lighting and sound installations we created to illuminated Hackney Central as part of an immersive trail. The installations and art trail were launched at the ‘Electric Bloom Finale’ on September 12th 2015, and we programmed an evening of carnival performance and live music – including the premiere of ‘Electric Bloom – an original composition performed by multi-instrumentalists Orphy Robinson and Rowland Sutherland and supported by PRS for Music.
Visitors to the Electric Bloom Finale were immersed in visual spectacle and sound. A sound-walk app was created to take participants on a voyage of discovery through the installations and historical landmarks of the borough. The app featured the hidden histories and memories shared by residents along with their thoughts on the current regeneration of the area.
We engaged 10,000 residents and visitors throughout the project; and a further 926,508 visitors have visited the permanent installations to date.
Electric Bloom was led by digital artists SDNA and the London Experimental Arts Project in collaboration with creative producer Clare Moloney and project artists Anna Glover, Annie Goliath, Adolfo Harrison, AJ Kwame, Barley Massey, Bryan Poole, Joel Cahen, Noel Basualdo, Orphy Robinson, PolarBear, Raymond Atrobus, Rowland Sutherland, Rozi Peters, Tropical Isles and Zsolt Balogh.
Electric Bloom was supported by the London Borough of Hackney, the Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the PRS and the Greater London Authority. Project partners included Hackney Archives, Hackney Historic Buildings Trust, Hackney Society, London Metropolitan Archives, Morningside Children’s Centre, and St Johns at Hackney, SPACE Studios, Sutton House and Trelawney Estate Resident’s Association.