Convergence Sessions creates a hub that hosts a series of workshops, talks and performances, and takes place over two days on Friday and Saturday at London’s Behind The Bike Shed. Some of our recommendations include:
The music production manufacturer has brought together 24 artists for a new project to create sonic sketches using their latest studio package: Komplete 11. Working within the frame of electronica, the project features work by Jlin, Throwing Shade, Chino Amobi, Nkisi, M.E.S.H. , Mumdance and Aïsha Deviamong others.
Berlin-based artist Rainer Kohlberger,who works with “algorithmically generated graphics” in film and live performanceshas produced animated visuals to accompany the sound.
The Stockholm-based producer — who’s worked with the likes of other Gravity Boys-affiliated artists and emcees Bladee and Thaiboy Digital, as well as producers White Armor and Yung Sherman — will appear at the Hackney space and venue with support from Manchester-based producer Croww.
The event, titled ‘Legacy Systems’ will see the three producers performing separately, then as a trio in a show themed around borderless “NON citizenry”, challenging “binaries and boundaries across virtual and physical realms”. The multinational collective will present a video work constructed from signifiers of corporate brand identity and militant solidarity, using music as “a weapon to destabilize and de-territorialize [their] audience”.
Respectively based in three parts of the world —including the US, UK and South Africa —Chino Amobi Nkisi and Angel-Ho connected online to run NON, an online music label dedicated to promoting African and diaspora artists. As well as releasing their own music, they’ve also dropped the likes of N-Prolenta, E-Jane and GAIKA, either as single releases or on their WORLDWIDE COMPILATION, VOL. 1..
Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings are presenting installation How to Survive a Flood@GAYBAR at London’s David Roberts Art Foundation (DRAF), opening May 13 and running to May 28.
As part of the Curators’ Series’ Ways of Livingprogramme running to June 23, the London-based artist-duo will transform the DRAF Studio into a working bar featuring new video, audio, and light boxes that explore the history of New York gay resort Fire Island in relation to its present state of rapid gentrification and natural disaster.
The project aims to cite and critique the complicated identity of said LGBTQ community and its relationship with private property and privilege by reimagining it as a “queer, sci-fi and anarchic space” with works weaving CGI landscapes, found footage of post-Hurricane Sandy destruction and an audio piece produced by Jan Piasecki weaving together pop music and the sounds of ecological destruction.
Illuminated by a torch attached to his body, Paul Maheke creates a spotlight at South London Gallery. For his I Lost Track of the Swarm solo exhibition he appears on-screen, in the first of two rooms, where fragments of a dance sequence appear across three channels facing different directions. Running March 18 to May 22, the show is part of a series of events that marks the culmination of Maheke’s six-month Graduate residency (2015-16) at the Peckham space. Here he navigates his way through the liminal terrain of video with physical gestures drawing on hip hop —which he spoke about as part of ‘Beyond Beyonce‘ at Open School East last year —and subcultures of queer black identity like the Ballroom scene. The dance explores literal and metaphorical visibility, of bodies taking up space as political presence and resistance. The scanning spotlight suggests both the stage and the dance floor, and speaks of acts of collectivity and survival or of what the press release describes as “gestures of remembrance”, where movement is both expressive and transformative.
A lavender glow on the bottom edges of the screens draws the viewer’s eyes up to the light source which is a glowing ceiling tile and, despite the picturesque hue that saturates the space, inside it is what looks like dead cockroaches, clumps of hair and leaves, but the bugs are plastic and the hair synthetic. Maheke’s dance in the video runs in parallel to the semitransparent light box of objects overhead; in how lighting and music can turn a space into a place of gathering andaffinity, the synthetic hair as a cosmetic extension and assertion of identity. Despite appearing dead, there is a more positive take on transmutation through the symbol of the cockroach as resilient, and as animals that move and communicate in groups. Sewn onto the curtains in the space are sections of text that run across them, and though they remain still, motion is suggested in their content: “to read the waverin’ of the swarm as a resilient flicker, a gesture towards transformation.”
The second room is also suffused with a lavender tint from four strips of UV lighting that make the white synthetic floor rug glow. We hear a 23-minute sound piece by producer Nkisi, mixing Congo’s Leele and West African club music, as footsteps emerge and distorted vocals repeat the phrase “dance towards transformation”. There are two alternative ways to listen, through two speakers on the wall or through two sets of headphones at a greater intensity, and it is a contradictory space of contemplation and activity as people sit down on the rug to hear more closely while the beat induces their bodies to movement. The carpet and headsets, along with the custom-made curtain rails and bare floorboards in the next room emphasise the domestic architecture of the exhibition space. A tension between dynamism and stasis permeates both rooms, between the moving body in the videos and the beat of its soundtrack, in contrast to the quietude, the calm of the the floor rug and the inanimate debris collected in the ceiling tile.
The animation of the gallery through light and music is undercut by discomfort, from looking up and seeing outlines of cockroachesm, and hair, and leaves, and dirt from the street suggesting different realities behind the facade. The weaves that can be found in nearby salons in South London Gallery’s surrounding neighbourhoods reference both local Afro-Caribbean communities, as well as those in France where Maheke was born and studied. In using cultural forms from Francophone Africa, including Nkisi’s musical references, the exhibition presents diaspora communities as acts and spaces of liberation.
Maheke’s I Lost Track of the Swarm looks at the production and articulation of subjectivity in relation to the collective or said ‘swarm’, and the use of bodily comportment in relation to self-expression and desire. Through the diffused purple lighting and materials, it explores what the accompanying text calls ‘black femme’ subjectivities within a wider exploration of the position of Black artists in the West, in the face of institutional racism, gentrification and cultural appropriation.**
CTM electronic music and art festival returns this year across multiple spaces in Berlin, opening January 29 and running February 6.
CTM 2016 is titled New Geographies, and in direct response to rapidly collapsing borders and hybridising topographies, as well as the backlash of tense essentialist reaction to these changes, invites more artists, contributors and voices operating in less familiar localities than ever before.
Guest curators are Rabih Beaini, for the music programme and Norient who have organised a “multi-authored” exhibition with over 250 artists working in 50 different countries with video, sound and music. Cult independent film maker Vincent Moon is opening his ‘Rituals’ installation at HAU2 on January 30 and talks led by the links of The Wire editor Emily Bick and journalist Adam Harper.
Included in the amazing line up are Hatsune Miku, and MBJ Wetware who will collaborate with JG Biberkopf, for whom aqnb has recently written a series of short texts to be read alongside his unthinkable show on NTS radio.
Here are some of our recommendations:
Zones 1 with Visionist, Thug Entrancer, J.G. Biberkopf and MBJ Wetware on February 2.
Zones III with Le1f, Aïsha Devi and Tianzhuo Chen on February 4.
Flow II with Jlin, Nkisi, Nidia Minaj and Kablam on February 4.
Steven Warwick and Anna Homler’s ‘Breadwoman‘ performance on February 5.
Zones IVwith Kassem Mosse and others on February 5.
Still Be Here with Hatsune Miku, featuring Laurel Halo, LaTurbo Avedon and others on February 5.
Grid Line with Why Be, Mum Dance and Rabit on February 6.
The 3hd Festival has announced more participants in their inaugural events programme under the theme of ‘The Labor of Sound in a World of Debt’, running at various Berlin locations from December 2 to 5.
Launched by the event series Creamcake and curated by Daniela Seitz and Anja Weigl, the festival is devoted to artists, performers, musicians, academics, and journalists who examine “the labor of sound” and question both its cultural causes and its social consequences.
Ariel 2.0 is a project running throughout the summer at Bold Tendencies, an auditorium space occupying the seventh floor of a multi-storey car park off Rye Lane in Peckham, South East London. Curated by Berlin-born, London-based artist/rapper Leo Liccini (aka Leo Luchini), the series features a number of international artists taking part in a programme of sampled speech, spoken word, and rap, embracing the performative voice and examining how it is altered by computers and online life. To that end they’ve already hosted a show with Cakes da Killa, with a performance from Felicita planned for the future. While Bold Tendencies occupies the entire car park, the performances themselves take place in a smaller space – a hut built out of hay bales – located deeper in the venue, beyond an installation from Amsterdam design collective Metahaven. Karen Gwyer headlined Ariel 2.0’s second edition, with support on the night coming from Nkisi.
Nkisi is the alias of Melika Ngombe Kolongo, an electronic music producer and visual artist raised in Belgium but now based in London. Alongside Cape Town, South Africa’s ANGEL-HO and Richmond, USA’s Chino Amobi, Nkisi is a founding member of NON Records, a new label/platform that presents the music of artists emerging from Africa and the African diaspora on their own terms. Nkisi is also a friend of Endless, a London party that takes over unoccupied and overlooked spaces around the city to create a place for new, cross-cultural club sounds to emerge, having played there regularly in the past. Her tracks carry titles like ‘WOC’ and ‘Collective Self Defense’, while one track on her Soundcloud (‘Inheritance Tax’) links to an article on the legacy of British slave ownership. All of which is to say that Nkisi’s music is politically engaged. It’s part of a wave of electronic producers and DJs around the world who are making positive, non-appropriative club music, while raising their voices against social injustices and rectifying narratives that overshadow, or whitewash, the contributions of non-Western, minority, and LGBTQ communities in music.
Tonight, Nkisi plays against a sparse, unembellished background using a minimalistic setup (CDJs, Juno synthesizer and a microphone). Her set works because, even when divorced from its political context, it works on a simple, visceral level: by the end of the set, most of the audience is dancing. Between bursts of spoken word, she plays her own tracks, which are densely layered, high tempo, and hard to place. The rhythms feel unfamiliar and there are few traditional hooks, but there’s something euphoric – if occasionally unsettling – contained within the pummeling rhythms.
With releases for No Pain In Pop, Kaleidoscope, and Opal Tapes, Karen Gwyer has mostly been associated with the experimental music community, playing shows in art spaces like Café Oto and, indeed, Bold Tendencies. It’s a shame if Gwyer only plays these venues, because her set tonight – a noisy, all-hardware session that draws predominantly on house and techno – feels like it belongs within the walls of a small, dark club at 3am. **
Endless presents a night of music in London with E+E, Krysaor, Nkisi, and Why Be, running at London’s 21 Penarth St. on December 10.
The first act of the night is Bolivian-born, LA-based Elysia Crampton or E+E, whose South American roots fly high in a hop-pop-gone-bad kind of a way, with swaggery hip hop beats that dissolve into quick-footed Latin cadences and then again into ballad-like pop vocals.
Crampton will be performing with visual artist Chino Amobi, and their set is followed by KRYSAOR (consisting of Blazekidd, Uli-k, Kamixlo, and Lexxi) and their South American (maybe Ecuadorian?) electro-cum-hip-hop. The last two acts consist of NKISI (known as Melika Ngombe Kolongo) with some whispery, layered electro tracks and Denmark’s WHY BE.