Wednesday 15 August 2018

Wednesday 15th August: Lizzie King studio visit

Since her book on the art of tie-dye, Lizzie King has become the authority on the multicolour fabric craft.  That, coupled with her love of Carnival has the combined credentials to make her the absolute expert on making tie-dye accessories for Notting Hill Carnival! Lizzie takes her workshops from schools to NIKE events for Pride to Music Festivals and beyond.  Now you can brighten up your wardrobe ready to Fete at her session at 3rd Rail Print Space where you'll be printing your own t-shirts in addition to learning the dye process.

Book a space for next Thursday here.

See her archive tie-dye posts here , here and here.  
See her archive Carnival posts here and here.

Wednesday 15th August: The Influence Project at Somerset House

I don't really like just posting my shots of photographs but I had to share this exhibition as it's such a great one to visit.  The East Wing of Somerset House has been filled with a myriad of portraits - all of legendary, incredible musicians and all totally new images.  Usually when you see this many iconic artists in one exhibition it will be of existing historical images but "The Influence Project" is all recent work by photographer Alexis Chabala and Curator Lorayne Crawford.  The duo have pulled together their personal favourite pioneers of R&B, Funk, Soul, Afrobeat and Hip Hop from Leon Ware and Roy Ayers to Chuck D and KRS-ONE.  Here are just a few of the stand-out sittings that I particularly loved including Erykah Badu, Anderson Paak, George Clinton, Sean Kuti, Tony Allen, Femi Kuti, Jazzie B, Thundercat and Jorja Smith.  Go and take a tour through time with a complete cross-section of International characters, mostly all captured in London!

Monday 13 August 2018

Monday 13th August: Boiler Room's "System" at Somerset House

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 the studios initiative. Gaika has created an interactive 
soundsystem installation using historical audio and visual archive footage of the Caribbean and Notting Hill Carnival. This material spans times and settings which he has 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 the more political aspects such as repercussions of the riots tied up in the roots of Notting Hill's own sound system culture.  

Gaika's own father was part of a soundsystem so the project has come from a very personal place to share the love for his heritage.  Carnival is integral to Caribbean identity in the UK and within that, soundsytems act as an extension of that voice. He has used this notion to demonstrate respect in the technical prowess of how the immense engineering has been built and developed.  England didn't have venues to host the music, so they took ownership of their own space by setting up the sounds to share.  At Carnival the soundsystems are literally termed "Static" which also alludes to their sheer physicality in being big imposing structures.  They are defiant, combative, menacing, like strategic warfare defence - all to command space.  

The design of his own interpretation on the stacks is constructed from scaffolding to mimic the Ghost Houses of Jamaica that are a result of generations changing hands and countries.  It's important to Gaika to make work that emphasises his own sense of place for many different related themes from ancestry that has been moved to the fact that his studio residency is inside an institution built from funds linked to slavery.  That's why it was fundamentally important to him to shake up the surroundings..........  to bring in Aba Shanti for a night to reverberate tremors enough to disturb the masonry.  To literally displace and conversely invite a new context and community into the space.  

To echo the chaos and spontaneity of Carnival, 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 throughout SYSTEM's duration at Somerset House Studios.  In addition there is also a schedule of live events as mentioned, 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.