It's August, and that spells only one thing for me = Carnival! Specifically Notting Hill Carnival!
This year I began celebrations with Boiler Room at Somerset House, where they have partnered with musician / performance artist Gaika who is a resident artist in their studios initiative. Gaika has created an interactive soundsystem installation using audio and visual archive footage of Notting Hill Carnival. This material spans the history having been sourced from the Black Cultural Archives, the BFI and Boiler Room's own recent recordings. The month long project coincides with Carnival and the 70 year Windrush Anniversary to celebrate the positive cultural impact of migration in London and the UK. This explores themes from creative expression to more political aspects such as anti-authoritarianism which have been unique direct effects of sound system culture.
The sculpture is fully interactive for visitors to take over SYSTEM through an audio input jack. Once plugged in, the installation will be fully responsive to the beat with changing images and video. A webcam fitted at the installation will stream live on https://boilerroom.tv/ throughout SYSTEM's duration at Somerset House Studios. In addition to the static sound, there is also a schedule of live events with a different headliner curating a night each week. I went down to the opening with DJ Judah's roster representing UKG and Jungle with a sprinkling of Soca and Afrobeats. Last week was the classic Dub takeover of Carnival stalwarts Abi Shanti and this week will be BBZ's takeover focusing on the marginalised LGBTQI+ POC collectives who are traditionally left out of Carnival celebrations.
There's so much going on with these Summer parties twice a week and talks and events around the installation, be sure to check out the listings here.