Vision Quest: A Ritual for Elephant & Castle is part documentary, part performance, part archive – exploring the major transitions currently taking place in the south London neighbourhood. The film follows Coates on an unlikely suburban journey as he sets out on a Vision Quest, seeking animal spirits to help gain insight into a possible future for the failing redevelopment scheme. In response to the Council’s formal vision and master plan for Elephant and Castle, Coates involves residents from the now demolished Heygate Estate, council planners and developers to evoke an alternative collective vision of what it could be.
The film is the conclusion of an local residency undertaken by Marcus Coates over a 4 year period (2009 / 2012). At the centre of the film is the improvised live rock-shamanic-ritual collaboration between Coates and Chrome Hoof staged within the legendary Coronet Theatre, one of the oldest buildings in the area. Coates performs an improvised ritual, supported by Chrome Hoof and Wildbirds & Peacedrums, marking the passing of the neighbourhood and to envisage a new strategy for development that does not repeat the mistakes of the last redevelopment in the 60’s.
Elephant and Castle has undergone successive redevelopments since the post war era. Each has been characterised by the imposition of extensive masterplans to solve increasing social housing needs and decreasing social prosperity.
Vision Quest: A Ritual for Elephant and Castle (2012, 51”12 mins) is a Marcus Coates film, commissioned & produced by Nomad Projects and co-directed by Marcus Coates and Michael Smythe. Cinematography by Annemarie Lean-Vercoe, editing by Ariadna Fatjo-Vilas.