Elena Mazzoni Wagner
LONDON “From Barnet to Bromley and from Havering to Hillingdon we are the 32LDN and together we make one city.” For who is not Londoner, it means that from North to South and from East to West, despite the appearances and prejudices, London is the same city in all its 32 boroughs. And it’s not banal at all to say it.
The most populated city in the European Union presents itself as a conurbation (Greater London) that consists of 32 boroughs plus the City of London, the ancient heart of the city (founded in 43 AD by the Romans with the name Londinium) and today the first European financial centre (easily distinguishable for its skyline of skyscrapers).
London is a lot of villages and people, both citizens and tourists, are used to think this city like divided into different areas (“the rich West End VS the poor East End” is a classic cliché). Even football, for example, it’s a result of this social fact: London is home to thirteen professional teams – like Fulham (the oldest one, founded in 1879), Royal Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur – and most clubs are named after the district in which they are based.
“What does it mean to be a Londoner in the 21st century? Never before has London been so diverse, vibrant and alive. This cosmopolitan metropolis has now a population of over 8 million; within which 270 nationalities are present and more than 300 languages are spoken. In this modern age London can be seen as a microcosm of the world.”
Simon Poon Tip is trying to answer to this question with his 32LDN project: a collection of 32 short films telling 32 London stories, that afterwards will make up one film. Inspired by the documentary Koyaanisqatsi (1982 – here the trailer), Simon has decided to make a mosaic portrait of London showing us an interesting story, of a particular place or people, for each capital’s borough. The films are very eclectic in subject matter but they all celebrate the same thing: the diversity, the real soul that makes this city so unique and alive.
“32LDN is a celebration of life in London’s 32 boroughs. We plan to tell the story, capture the spirit and bring closer together the communities that make up the most constantly evolving city on earth.”
While Simon is explaining me his project’s intention, he reads me a quote by the Londoner and famous Dj Norman Jay: “My favourite place of all is London. I love our architecture, our trains, our galleries and museums. I love all the things we moan about – our crap hotels, our crap service. Nobody can tell me they are bored in this city. I won’t have it. No matter how obscure your taste in music, somebody, somewhere is playing it in London, and nowhere else has that diversity. I think that is something to be celebrated.” – This is exactly what Simon means and wants to do with 32LDN.
32LDN aims to build a picture of today’s London also through the participation of people from all walks of life. The content shared and collected will help to create a collective exhibition of films, photographs, art and music that tells the story of modern London. You can get involved and contribute via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr.
32LDN aims to become one long film, a photo book, a festival, a brand for London. But it especially aims to be a way to tell, see and imagine London as one identity, as one city made of an infinite number of realities and dreams; a way to represent London with a unified vision and one voice for all the different communities living here. Because at heart “we are all the same”, Simon says.
P.S. As we love this project, we’ll publish a film – with a short introduction and some photos – every month, for the next 32 months and starting from this April!
ABOUT the Founder and Creative Director of 32LDN:
First of all, Simon Poon Tip is madly in love with London. He was born and raised here apart from a few of his early years which he spent in Trinidad. He is music video and commercials producer. He has worked with many directors – like Michel Gondy, Tony Kaye, Rupert Sanders, Max and Dania, David Slade, Adam Johnson, David Mould, Rocky Morton, Mike Lipscombe – and now he’s the Head of Production at Foam, a music focused video game company in Kensington working with multi award winning creative directors Steve Milbourne and Phil Clandillon. Awards: D&AD, Creative Circle, Mobo, Brit, Media Guardian Innovation, UK Music Video, Creative Review Annual.