Community Research Office started with an empty gallery, a simulation of the no context situation. The press release about our permanent presence, the process of building/changing the space by installing new furniture indicated the change of the space. Gradually, the regular visitors to the gallery became an important source of information, filling it with material. The gallery’s white cube gave way to an office space for this work-in-progress to reflect the gentrification process that was going on in the local area. At the same time, Community Research Office also indicated the hypothetical future development of IBID Projects’ space by displaying a simulated real estate listings board.
Temporarily converting the IBID Gallery into the Community Research Office was a continuation of a series of projects engaging with social research and urban development in different European cities. The project explored the reasons, processes, and consequences of change within urban development, in which galleries and independent art spaces play an important role. Gentrification is also a strong visual process in which financial investments are visible through architectural and social changes in previously run-down areas. Art galleries and project spaces are among the first gentrifiers and are later often replaced by upgraded housing, cafés, and offices. At that time, East London had already been experiencing visible and rapid change merely as a result of the preparations for London’s upcoming bid for the Olympic Games 2012.