An event organised by both Tate Exchange and 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning. I will be screening my video commission by 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning in response to their gallery archive. Artist Delaine Le Bas will also be presenting her response to the archive and we'll both be discussing our work. Reflecting on exchange relationships between the commissioner and the maker.
In September I had the opportunity to take part in a series of touring performances with Electronic Voice Phenomena. (EVP) Traveling Edinburgh, Liverpool and London.
The performance piece I presented was a live narration taken from Charles Dickens 1842 travel writing ‘American Notes’. The section I recite from in this book is Dickens description of the dancer Master Juba performance. (Master Juba is regarded by some as the first black performer in the United States and the inventor of tap dancing) Dickens description of seeing Master Juba perform in New York helped him reach wide fame and international popularity.
The live reading was merged with a projected, edited segment from Andrew Stones 1942 film ‘Stormy Weather’ with its all star black cast. (During a conflicting era in Hollywood in having Black lead roles) Including Leana Horne, Cab Callowey, Bill Robinson, Nicholas Brothers. Focusing on the famous dance performance by the Nicholas Brothers, the narrated text was read in time in fitting in pace with movie.
I arrived at this piece whilst researching work for another project and came to read ‘American Notes’. At around the same time that I was also researching The Nicolas Brothers. Initially merging the text with just the dance sequence, and later realizing there were more matches within this particular section of the book and the film.
The natural fit of the two materials raise questions of Charles Dickens and Andrew Stones as commentators rather than change makers and the relation this has within today’s politics.
Having a gap of one hundred years between the two works, both artists put at the centre of celebration an African American culture that they are not apart of, adopting the position of immobile cultural viewers. Avoiding a self -critical look at there own conventional perceptions. In light of the current focus on the United States, I feel that a self-critical question is one worth asking.
To give an idea of how this was presented live, I have dubbed the section I use from the movie with a pre-recorded reading from American Notes.
Hope you enjoy!
Last month at The Showroom in London, both myself and Kodwo Eshun had the pleasure of being joined in conversation with Louis Chude-Sokei, around his most recent book 'The Sound of Culture (Diaspora and Black Technopoetics)' to discuss the mutual implication of posthumanism, Postcoloniality, Afrofutrism and Cybertheory.
As a great admirer of Louis's work it was an honour to have him in person, continuing from our Skype discussion earlier in April 2016 at Cubitt.
Finally got the chance to experiment with working with a live drummer who's improvisation replacedthe pre-recorded audio at V22 Summer Club on Saturday.
The very talented and established Producer, Writer, Musical Director and Multi-Instrumentalist, based in London, Geo (Geordan Reid-Campbell) played live drums in response to 4minutes 6 of Conversation 2014-.
Geo played two thirteen minutes sets.
Really excited to see this piece evolve.
On Friday 19th August I had the pleasure of presenting a new performance piece as part of a EVP (Electric Voice Phenomenon) session that took place at Edinburgh International Book Festival. Sharing the bill with poets and performers Antosh WojciK, Hannah Silva, Harry Giles & Neil Simpson, Ross Sutherland.
In the performance I narrate and collage an excerpt reading from Charles Dickens American Notes 1842 with a short screening of Andrew L. Stone film Stormy Weather 1943. The sessions will be Touring to The Bluecoats, Liverpool on the 22nd September and Shoreditch Town Hall, London on the 23rd September.
Please join us if you’re free in Liverpool or London on these dates.
In June I was commissioned to create a piece of work that responded to 198’s 28-year archive. Having grown up and still living within the area, this was a project that resonated with me. With material ranging from, photographs to vhs recordings, I created a 20min audio visual piece responding to the areas sonic vibrancy. The duration marked the length of my journey walking from the Raymond Watson Sculpture ‘First Child’ in Max Roach Park (commissioned by 198 gallery, in memorial to the 116 children who died in the ‘Soweto Uprising’) to the gallery. All material used was taken from the archive except the following tracks. Making a conscious effort in including musicians from South London;
Balam Acab – Fragile Hope
D.J Heny.G- Political
Faze Miyake- Burciaga
Novelist- Style Riddim [Lewisham Mcdeez] [Instrumental]
The Cool Notes – Natural Energy
Like most creative spaces 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning is a work in progress and continues to expand, well worth investigating and supporting (especially those with swollen pockets).
I will be hosting the next 'Network 11' Peer Forum at Cubitt gallery on the 27th April. I will be reading Louis Chude-Sokei's writting "Dr Satan's Echo Chamber: Reggae, Technology and Diaspora Process " followed by a Skype Q&A conversation with Chude-Sokei.
Louis Chude-Sokei is a Nigerian-Jamaican-American scholar and writer. His work includes the monograph "Dr. Satan's Echo Chamber: Reggae, Technology and the Diaspora Process," the award-winning critical work "The Last Darky" and the most recent book, "The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics." He currently teaches at the University of Washington, Seattle and is Editor-In-Chief of the newly revamped The Black Scholar, one of the oldest and most influential journals of Black thought in the U.S.
If it's up your street, come down!
In the middle of last month spent a compact week in LA with some very kind friends (old and new) and family, Highlight being bumping into the great filmmaker Ben R. Caldwell in his Leirmert Park space. They have a lot of interesting events planned well worth a trip if ever in that neck of the woods. Here are a few tourist snaps from the trip.
For Contemporary And (C&) 5th biannual printed magazine edition. 'Focus on the Armory- Interview Edition'. I'm featured in an interview with interesting curator, writer and producer Hansi Momodu-Gordon.
An image of my work 'Tum Tum Telephone' is also featured as the cover page. Printed copies will be available at The Armory Show, New York.
A lot of interesting interviews and articles, well worth checking out, along with previous issues.
A couple of interesting happenings this week...
On Wednesday 25th February 'An Evening with Larry Achiampong & David Blandy' at Artsadmin, Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street E1 6AB.
Larry and David will host an informal evening of video screenings and debate around the postcolonial and the posthuman, showing the Artsadmin produced Finding Fanon Part Two as well as a selection of work by other artists including Jesse Darling, Evan Ifekoya, Harold Offeh, Nicola Thomas and myself.
The evenings event will take place in Artsadmin, Arts Bar & Cafe from 7;30pm ticket are free and can be found here.
On Friday 27th February as the third in a series of events an Cubitt The Network 11 will be presenting an event hosted by Larry Achiampong in conversation with Barby Asante and Teresa Cisneros.
As part of the 'The Netwrok11', we are a peer group of artists who are each grappling with contemporary art practice in an exciting array of forms including performance, sound and imagery. Artists including myself, Larry Achiampong, Beverley Bennet, Evan Ifekoya, Shepard Manyika, Ima-Abasi Okon, Kamile Ofoeme & Nicola Thomas.
The evenings discussion will run from 6-8pm, details on the poster below.