Alternative London by Nicholas Saunders. Image Credit: Nicholas Saunders
This book is not written from theory, nor is it an outside observer’s view. The law, organisations and activities are described the way we experience them – not how they should be or would like to be.
— Alternative London, Nicholas Saunders
In 1970 Nicholas Saunders published and distributed a series of editions of Alternative London, an encyclopaedic sub-cultural guide to living in London. Saunders’ guidebook presented readers with a set of alternative values and ambitions for navigating the city, such as communal living and pursuing spiritual development. Selling over 50,000 copies in its first edition Alternative London became a companion to many young people living in London.
Through a series of walks during London Festival of Architecture, Companion, will address Alternative London not as a living document, but as an archive, inviting artists to reassess the intention, spirit and time in which it was written. This process of re-engagement with Saunders' archive and its margins, will lead to intersections with other histories, spaces and figures, bringing into view how lived experience is shared and disseminated in the city today.
Walks will be led by artists, writers, curators and policy researchers, including Huw Lemmey, Rosanna Mclaughlin with Emily Pope, Alexei Schwab and Katie Schwab.