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Living Beneath The Rosebush

(2012 - onwards)


Sound and concept: Ben Kelly

Film Direction: Steve McInerney & Stuart Heaney

In association with the BFI & Hackney Archives



The main concept of the piece was an investigative journey to attempt to identify the extent of sociological and acoustical harmony through a series of recordings, these recordings restricted to only sounds captured from the geographical borough of Hackney, London.


It was the intention to acquire an accurate audio portrayal of both the social diversity and geographical soundscapes that reside in close proximity with impartiality, allowing the natural landscape be a truthful narrative, contrasted with the interviews of Hackney residents.


Focusing on areas with associated preconceptions such as: Lower Clapton road- once shackled with the title of the highest gun related murder in the UK journalistically known as “Murder Mile”, Broadway market- a thriving area home to the affluent that 10 years ago was social housing until gentrification changed the local areas landscape forever.


Ridley road Market: the most socially diverse area in the borough and under thread of closure, assisted by the application for the construction of yet another national supermarket branch in an already commercially saturated area.


Hackney Marshes: amongst the nature reserves at sunrise you could close your eyes and be in any national park in rural England. Contact microphone recordings taken from the gates of a derelict cathedral in Stoke Newington substantiates the visual evidence of social and religious change over the last 20 years, signified further by the sound of Morning Prayer bellowing from the local mosque, or the footsteps of the orthodox Jews crossing the road to an adjacent Synagogue.


The electro-magnetic recordings of “Murder Mile”, low sweeping hums of a place that projects connotations of a violent past, but also indicate it too could be a victim, a victim of media propaganda, but as the sounds sweep, intermittent bursts of amplitude may be a reminder of how things can spark into aggression, such as the riots of last year.


The central pulse of the piece recorded with Contact Microphones is a recording of my heart; symbolic of the love I have for the area.


As the heartbeat repeats and builds with substance, it raises many questions about gentrification, demographic change, loss/development of identity, prejudice and whether there are 2 communities in Hackney, those living under the rosebush, or those in the flower.


Now A collaborative experimental film using historical post-war archive footage of Hackney; juxtaposed with new 16mm film of the current urban landscape. Highlighting gentrification, cultural development and commercialisation. 

Film enquires: film preview is available upon request, please email


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