Yuntong Liu
China

Night watch Cafe

Dissertation title
Rebuilding belonging from uncertainty: Research into post-disaster temporary dwellings

This Project was born following a 24-hour observation in Soho, where the night-time story of this unique district of London gradually unfolded.

This initial observation triggered a research of night-time occupations in Soho, exploring their challenging lifestyles and especially questioned the level of support offered to them from local authorities and venue owners, for playing a huge role in generating a valuable night-time economy, which many were capitalising on.

This was done by exploratory talks with night-time workers and subsequently running participatory events with the public, which investigated the neglected needs of these specific workers. These were far-ranging focusing on important health matters; e.g. sleep and digestion related problems, social and family issues.

This subsequent installation provides a week-long 24-hr Cafe Gallery in the street corner off Brewer St: ‘The Night watch Café’.

The most obvious function of this cafe is to address and in part help solve a central night-time workers’ urgent need: that of providing proper food in a more sociable environment. For example, here workers can have “breakfast” at late night or dinner in the early morning, while this structure can also be an environment offering a gathering place to organize or participate in social activities.

Furthermore, the entire project operates as a ‘Spatial Demonstration’ in this public space. All parts of this structure will carry and convey messages about night-time workers. Cabinets of curiosity will embody a series of artworks related to the issues they are facing; the seating area records the thoughts of everyone who has visited and the interchangeable sign demonstrates the core issues they would like addressed.

The ultimate purpose of this week-long installation is to collect and deliver the voices from night-time workers to the relevant organizations in order to trigger a policy-level response for the future of this industry.


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