Colin Priest

What Next?


Dark Island started in 2011 as a way to experiment locally and document the transformation of Hackney Wick and Fish Island post-London 2012 Olympics. During Lockdown, the stamina to think in a straight line has been tricky. Juggling work life, good health, identity theft, social-distancing, briefings and changing rules created fluctuations of anxiety, anger and sorrow. This much time on my own has deepened my appreciation of family, friends, neighbours and where I live; questioning ad nauseam how, where and why I live the way I do.

Small creative thoughts have been a way to keep the looming clouds at bay, experimental pamphlets, Dark Island: Monier Road Aria and Dark Island: Exercise Walks, finishing a short film, learning how to make short animations, contribute to the Irish Architecture Foundation Within 2000m project ( and design a ‘Corona Mobile’ to sculpt time in isolation.


On the day before the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, I was particularly low and unusually absorbed by the emerging summer flowers in the Olympic Park. I took a photograph touching a scabious flower for an idea to percolate and at the same time my mind flew back to scenes from Blackberry Tonic a work made with Deal Down Hall for Dover Museums and Arts Group, Codename: Joined Up. When we cannot touch each other, can we deeply sense a landscape instead? I was hoping to go to Chelsea Flower Show this year but this was not possible so in place improvised using #SensingFlora. Friends near and far started to add to the virtual garden, alongside messages from people I have not seen in weeks and years, it was heartwarming to reconnect and share some cheer in this way.