TUESDAY 29th APRIL 2014
RAFT- A London Salon
curated by Chiara Ambrosio
“They tell us that art is a mirror – a mirror held up to nature. I think this is a false image… In a society like ours art is not a mirror but a hammer. It is a weapon in our hands to see and say what is right and good and beautiful, and hammer it out as the mould and pattern of men’s actions.” John Grierson
While the landscape of the city continues its entropic journey towards self-effacement and erasure, constantly re-imagining itself at the expense of any sense of continuity, community and collective history, London, one of the cultural capitals of the world, is suffering from a mass exodus of its artistic communities, pushed away by soaring rent prices that have transformed space into an unachievable luxury, eradicating history and leaving the city shipwrecked, empty and bereft. Ballard’s dystopic visions loom terrifyingly near.
But amidst the change there are those who remain, whose insistent presence is an act of subversion in itself, whose clear and persistent gaze is a witness, whose work and ideas percolate into the soil of the city and keep its blood flowing.
RAFT is an evening that celebrates this kind of occupation, presenting some of the idiosyncratic, irreverent and quintessentially local forms of culture that shape London’s identity; the attentive and visionary gazes that penetrate and actively question our times and safeguard the continuation of thought and experimentation into the new generations.
Featuring moving image, live performances and contributions by:
MISS ROBERTS and COS
ANDREA LUKA ZIMMERMAN
Chiara is preparing to launch RAFT as a regular publication that will act as an archive and space on the page for this kind of conversation and exchange within London, and tonight will be an opportunity to discuss, exchange thoughts and raise new questions about the role and responsibility of the artist and cultural provocateur in our times.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS:
ANDREA LUKA ZIMMERMAN‘s work as a filmmaker sits at the intersection of documentary and fiction, and is interested in particular in how we record people; tell ‘our’ histories, restlessly questioning the power structures behind representational norms. A founding member of the film collective Vision Machine, she worked for over a decade with perpetrators and victims of state sanctioned violence, developing filmic strategies in order to establish the effects of political violence on the public imagination. This period also prompted early research for her film essay Prisoner of War (2015), which investigates US militarism and foreign policy through a character study of one of its most enduring rogue agents. She has just completed Taskafa: Stories of the Street, a film about resistance and co-existence. Voiced by John Berger, from his novel King, it is told through the lives of street dogs in Istanbul, and premiered at the Istanbul Film Festival in April 2013, and showed at London Film festival, Antalya, Tarpei, Oberhausen etc. She is currently in production with her new non-fiction feature Estate, a Reverie (2014), the last in a trilogy of works on the Haggerston estate, preceded by the photographic installation on the façade of Samuel House, i am here (2009-13); and publication Estate: Art, Politics and Social Housing in Britain (2010).
JOHN BENTLY is a South London based artist, performer and writer, who has been making art in book form since 1983. Under the imprint Liver & Lights, Bently has produced a staggering 51 volumes so far. Beginning anti -Thatcherite manifesto, the books have evolved into all manner of things including exhibitions, performances and community projects.
The thread connecting all of his work is his unwavering, almost documentary style of human observation.
DUNCAN REEKIE has been a malign influence on British Underground Cinema for over twenty years. He has produced a diverse body of work that explores a variety of styles, techniques and purpose including narrative drama, scratching and colouring celluloid, multiple superimpositions, video collage and lyrical visions. Reekie has developed a mongrel praxis that refuses the institutional separation between theory and practice. It is subjective and chaotic, it is enmeshed in a complex system of political contingencies : he is an agent in the narrative. He is perhaps most celebrated for his performance work which features projected images and scathing rhetoric which is often mistaken for irony. He is a founder member of the infamous Exploding Cinema Collective, a radical open access-screening group and he was the co-ordinator, producer and co-director of the international Underground feature film MALDOROR (2001) that has toured extensively throughout Europe and America. His highly acclaimed book ‘Subversion: The Definitive History of Underground Cinema’ was published by Wallflower Press in October 2007.
JULIUS BELTRAME is a photographer, filmmaker and a late night urban drifter.
MISS ROBERTS The mysterious and ethereal Miss Roberts along with her Rude Mechanicals is a whirling dervish of strange songs, sounds and looks. The much bandied about word ‘unique’ would, in this instance, be an accurate description of what they do. The ‘rustics’ in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ are disparagingly referred to as ‘Rude Mechanicals’. A concept which really appeals to the band, reflecting their passion for outsider music and also a spontaneous and frivolous approach to their live performances.
Miss Roberts is an eccentric artist and visionary who, as well as singing with the Rude Mechanicals, writes poetry and short stories, performs her own one person plays and writes and illustrates beautiful hand made books.
BIRD RADIO Bird Radio is multi-instrumentalist Mikey Kirkpatrick who performs and records original songs using vocals, guitars, flutes, loops, effects and a suitcase bass drum. Described on different occasions as “A mix of old testament preacher and Captain Beefheart…”, “a flute-toting, bass drum-beating sensation…” and “… future medieval, as if J.G. Ballard had written The Wicker Man”, Bird Radio draws from primordial folk, blues and ritualistic sound to create powerful songs that combine the ancient art of storytelling with rousing and hypnotic beats and rhythms.