GRAND UNION SUMMER PROGRAMME
Cooking Sections: The Empire Remains Shop–Birmingham
Junction Works (Old Canal & River Trust Offices)
106 Fazeley Street, Birmingham
Launched Friday 14 June 2019
Check website for rolling public programme
This was the opening of the new Cooking Sections installation in Junctions Works, and the launch of The Empire Remains Shop–Birmingham. This long-term project with Cooking Sections will be relocating the gallery and public programme to the historical Junction Works, Canal & River Trust Office, owned by Homes England and the potential future home of Grand Union.
Building on a previous attempt to open an Empire Shop in Birmingham in January 1931, the first franchise of The Empire Remains Shop opens in the heart of the post-post-industrial landscape of Digbeth. Conceived for the renovation period of the building, The Empire Remains Shop will take over the facade and windows to host a range of new commissions and existing works that employ food as a tool to assemble new sites and geographies, while exploring origins, destinations and exchanges across the present and future of our postcolonial planet. Visitors to The Empire Remains Shop—Birmingham can take part in the rolling programme of visual and sound installations facing Fazeley Street, the railway and the canal, to activate the site during the construction process. The series of works aim to uncover Birmingham’s past and present relationship to Empire through culinary, chemical, cultural and agricultural extractions, inventions and interventions, while exploring other possible futures.
This project marks the beginning of Grand Union’s reanimation of this building, reinstating the public’s relationship to this historic site. The franchise of The Empire Remains Shop is framed by our vision for what we hope this new home can be for the organisation, and for Digbeth in the face of regeneration. The programme will be shifting and changing seasonally, but is intended to be flexible and responsive to the needs of our context and our development of the building. We want to conceive of this collectively, and use Junction Works as a base to unpack other histories in the city.