Back in August the church of St John in Hackney welcomed an ambitious collaboration as part of their annual summer series programed by Bird on The Wire.
The performance was titled ‘A Shared Cultural Memory’, and saw three of London’s most innovative artists, each a pioneer within their different fields, working together for the first time in an attempt to create just that; through the use of experimental music, performance and art.
Music was headed up by musician and producer Actress, who’s conceptual approach to music, and somewhat dissident mentality, lent itself perfectly to such a venture. A figure who is consistently referred to as fascinating, enigmatic and complex, Actress reimagines techno’s weighty industrial beats to create a diffused version of the genre that’s both brutal and serene in equal measures. This audio in itself, resounding through the nave of the 18th century building, made for an intensely visceral experience, however the addition of performance and visuals added a ‘happening’-esque air to the event.
The performance element came in the ethereal forms of dancers, choreographed by performance artist Eddie Peake. Peake’s innate comprehension of contemporary popular culture meant his interpretation of Actress’ soundtrack portrayed an understanding of his musical style, which ultimately resulted in a synchronisation that seemed effortless. Since the performance, Eddie Peake has gone on to exhibit at Berlin’s Peres Projects, and collaborate with Kendrick Lamar- furthermore exploring his interest in popular music, and the possibilities of cross-genre collaboration.
An additional visual component was provided by designer Nic Hamilton, who, by combining key elements from Actress’ and Peake’s work, created hyperrealist projections depicting contrasting hard and soft factors, teaming rigid structural forms with sinuous figures.
The completed article all housed within the eerie setting of the Hackney church made for an evocative, stimulating and multidimensional experience, which has been captured beautifully in a short film, just released over on WerkhausLtd. The film provides a new perspective of the show for those who were there, and for those who were not, a chance to experience the unique event, as well as become a part of the shared cultural memory the collective were keen to create.
Actress’ latest album Ghettoville is released through Ninja Tune today and is available for download here.
Words by Amy Lee
Photo by Fred
Photo by Fred