Larry Achiampong

Between what was + is yet to come in the middle ages of Medieval-City One at Leicester’s Two Queens

19 July 2017

The Medieval-City One group exhibition at Leicester’s Two Queens, opened June 17 and is running to September 2.

Georgia Horgan, ‘Ut Cum Muliere’ (2017) Courtesy the artist + Two Queens, Leicester.

The show features newly-commissioned video and installation works by Larry Achiampong & David Blandy, Ashley HolmesGeorgia HorganPil and Galia Kollectiv and  Medieval Helpdesk (Lara Eggleton & David Steans) that explore, “the constructs of bureaucracy, colonialism, national identity, immigration, ethnicity, posthumanism, the gendered body, and tourism.”

The exhibition is also part of a series of events that studies the idea of the ‘Medieval’ in relation to the future and takes its title from Judge Dredd’s Mega City One.  The programme aims to create a space to open up discussions around the middle ages in popular culture, and as a space to explore the ‘between’ of what was and what comes next.**

The Medieval-City One group exhibition is on at Leicester’s Two Queens, running June 17 to September 2, 2017.

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Cycle Music and Art Festival, Oct 27 – 30

26 October 2016

The second Cycle Music and Art Festival is taking place at Kópavogur’s Gerðarsafn Museum and various other venues around the Icelandic city, opening October 27 and running to October 30.

Dedicated to the intersection of art and music, the focus of the event is deeply rooted in the natural landscape as “an echo chamber in order to explore questions of deep time and peak futures.”

There is a long line-up of exciting events and exhibitions, including a performance by Rachel de Joode, a live concert by the South Icelandic Chamber Choir, ‘music chess deal #3’ by Curver Thoroddsen, a film screening of Finding Fanon II (2015) by Larry Achiampong & David Blandy, and a synthetic choir by Marguerite Humeau.

There’ll be an inclusion of Constant Dullaart’s media player invention (a product successfully funded Kickstarter campaign of company DullTech™), multi-media work ‘100% OTHER FIBRES’ by Heather Phillipson, a research performance by Johannes Paul Raether, film screening of Kwassa Kwassa (2015) by SUPERFLEX, a new body of sculptural work by Vanessa Safavi, and Alvaro Urbano‘s new He would always leave the window open, even at night (2016).

See the Cycle Music and Art Festival website for the full programme.**

Header image: Marguerite Humeau, ‘FOXP2’ (2016). Digital Image. Courtesy the artist + Le Studio Humain (Benjamin Penaguin) for Marguerite Humeau.

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Larry Achiampong + David Blandy @ The Showroom, Jun 30

29 June 2016

Larry Achiampong and David Blandy will be in conversation with Rizvana Bradley at London’s The Showroom on June 30.

The London-based artist duo who often work together will screen and present their work ‘Finding Fanon’ (2015) an ongoing film series inspired by the lost plays of Frantz Fanon (1925-1961), a radical humanist whose practice dealt with the psychopathology of colonisation and the social and cultural consequences of decolonisation.

Both parts of ‘Finding Fanon’ thus far deal with the relationship Achiampong and Blandy have to each other and the impact that the inherited conversation around colonialism and promise of globalisation has upon on them.

Also involved in the discussion are members of Network 11, a peer network of artists working on questions regarding the positions of Britishbased artists of colour and LGBT communities in the art world.

See the Showroom website for more details.**

Larry Achiampong @ All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm: An Evening of Live Music (2015). Performance view. Photo by Dan Weill. Courtesy DRAF, London.
Larry Achiampong @ All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm: An Evening of Live Music (2015). Performance view. Courtesy the artist and DRAF, London. 





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Open Source 2016, May 28 – 29

27 May 2016

Open Source 2016 contemporary art festival is on at Londons’ Gillett Square in Dalston, running May 28 to 29.

The free weekend event and artist-run initiative brings together the art world private view into the public space with a series of screenings, live performances and installations from the likes of Larry Achiampong, Cory Arcangel, Benedict Drew, Joey Holder, Hannah Black, and Rachel Maclean, among others.

Organised by Emily Butler, Christine Eyene, Helen Nisbet, Joe Fletcher Orr & Doug Bowen, Richard H M Parry and Amy Sherlock, the theme this year follows “subcultures, identity, fluidity and self-determination” and will also include an immersive video game, ice cream, drones, VJ and DJ sets, street posters, experimental hair salon, and more.

See the Open Source website for details.**

Larry Achiampong performing at All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm: An Evening of Live Music at DRAF, 2015. Photo: Dan Weill
Larry Achiampong @ All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm: An Evening of Live Music (2015). Performance view. Photo by Dan Weill. Courtesy DRAF, London.
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Larry Achiampong + David Blandy @ Toynbee Studios, Feb 25

24 February 2016

Artists Larry Achiampong and David Blandy will host an informal evening of video screenings and debate around the postcolonial and the posthuman at London’s Artsadmin Toynbee Studios on February 25.

The discussion will surround their new film commission, ‘Finding Fanon Part Two’, a work that explores post-humanity in and via the digital realm of Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto V’s in-game video editor.

On the evening Achiampong and Blandy will also feature screen-based works by other artists making in a similar territory. They are: Harold Offeh, Jesse Darling, NT, Evan Ifekoya, Junior Boakye-Yiadom and Hannah Black.

See the EventBrite event link for more details**

David Blandy - tutorial (2016). FB event image. Courtesy the artist and Channel Normal.
David Blandy, ‘tutorial’ (2016). Courtesy the artist and Channel Normal.


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Larry Achiampong @ Serpentine Galleries, Nov 1

30 October 2015

Larry Achiampong is presenting Assembled Identities on Nov 1 as part of a free, drop in family day at Serpentine Galleries on November 1.

London-based Achiampong utilises a range of sound media and materials to interrogate assembled representations of identity. With the ubiquitousness of Facebook, Tumblr, and Youtube-based cultures he explores the dichotomies which might exist in an era of personal and interpersonal archives.

Previously, with  An Evening of Live Music at DRAF, Achiampong played with some of his own archive – playing vinyl tracks influential to his own music-making practice, while looping a video of a young child playing.

See the Serpentine Galleries event page for details.**

Larry Achiampong performing at All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm: An Evening of Live Music at DRAF, 2015. Photo: Dan Weill
Larry Achiampong performing at All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm: An Evening of Live Music at DRAF, 2015. Photo: Dan Weill.
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I’M Ten @ IMT, Sep 3 – Oct 2

2 September 2015

IMT Gallery is presenting I’M Ten, a benefit auction and exhibition of over 150 emerging artists running at the London gallery from September 3 to October 2, to be auctioned at Paddle8 online from September 17.

The event is being held to celebrate the 10th anniversary of IMT, features works by the likes of  0rphan Drift, Joey Holder, Larry Achiampong, Harry Meadley and David Steans, and follows last year’s Paddles ON! IRL auction of digital art in conjunction with Paddle8 online in London that featured Amalia Ulman, Sarah Ludy and Maja Cule among others.

See the IMT Gallery website for details. **

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An Evening of Live Music @ DRAF reviewed

15 July 2015

All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm, curated by Christine Eyene, brings together artists and musicians, working from the late 20th century to today, who all deal in different ways with the influence of rhythm and music from Africa. For An Evening of Live Music, held at DRAF on July 11, three of the artists currently showing in the exhibition perform live, with music, sound and video.

Evan Ifekoya’s ‘Let the rhythm keep pulling you towards ur edges (after Marlon Riggs)’ (2015), is a rich multi-channel audio-visual performance. Spoken-word recordings, music and remixes are cued over a projected video montage and live-updated twitter feed. The video weaves together viral YouTube dances, Fred Astaire’s notorious tap dancing scene as ‘Bojangles of Harlem’ in Swing Time and archival film of works by Harlem Renaissance-affiliated sculptor Richmond Barthé, alongside video of Ifekoya combing their hair and setting up a mirrorball in a green-screen studio. Their twitter feed is live-updated with the content of the spoken-word recordings, a story of a romantic encounter on a night out, played alongside a heterogeneous selection of modern pop and not-so-pop music. At one point Spice Girls collides with Snoop/Pharrell tongue-clicks. I hear X-Ray Spex’s ‘Identity’ playing half-speed, sounding strangely like stoner metal.

Larry Achiampong performing at All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm: An Evening of Live Music at DRAF, 2015. Photo: Dan Weill
Larry Achiampong performing at All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm: An Evening of Live Music at DRAF, 2015. Photo: Dan Weill

In contrast, Larry Achiampong takes analogue material as his source. For an hour he plays vinyl – complete with skips triggered by an excitable audience – selecting tracks with a connoisseur’s sensitivity. He plays predominantly Ghanaian and Nigerian guitar-driven psychedelic tracks from the 1970s, which have influenced the sound of his own albums Meh Mogya and More Mogya. Meanwhile, a film of a young child dancing on a play mat loops in the background. Like a lot of children he seems to have boundless energy, and an interest in trying out all varieties of dance – at various points spinning, rolling or clapping along to the set.

To close the evening, Julien Bayle performs ‘ALPHA’ (2014), an audio-visual show conducted on proprietary software synthesisers and sequencers, developed by the artist himself. It is sonically industrial, with driving kicks and crescendos of noise, but aesthetically minimal. Hypersensitive wireframe 3D geometries jitter and pulse in response to the sound, the projector often strobing along with the deep distorted kicks. Its simplicity and phenomenally tight synchronization creates a hypnotising and enveloping experience.

Julie Bayle performing 'ALPHA' at All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm: An Evening of Live Music at DRAF, 2015. Photo: Dan Weill
Julien Bayle performing ‘ALPHA’ at All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm: An Evening of Live Music at DRAF, 2015. Photo: Dan Weill

While each of the three artists start from divergent sources, the questions raised in the evening are clear. How do we make sure to truly value influences? Which important figures are being devalued by structural apathy or prejudice? How can we start to recognise those influences as part of a global cultural canon, rather than simply as marginalities? It is Ifekoya playing ‘Madame Hollywood’ by Felix da Housecat, in the context of their wider performance, which points most literally to the history of expropriation. After being denied entry to Berghain in Berlin in March – almost a year after the death of seminal Chicago house producer Frankie Knuckles – FdH made his thoughts about structural racism devaluing the history of dance music public on twitter. “blood sweat and tears CHICAGO and DETROIT BUILT BERLIN! TECHNO AND HOUSE,….”.

The act of turning away FdH, whose work played a role in laying the foundations for contemporary dance music, is exemplary of painfully ironic historical whitewashing. Western culture seems structurally predisposed to devaluing the cultural contributions of non-white artists. Would techno exist in the same way today, had four-to-the-floor not been popularised in the discos of the 1970s? Who, beyond cultural theorists and specialists, recognises this as valuable today? But, to try to be optimistic, maybe the right rhythm, played by the right person, in the right place and time, stands up on its own merits – and a celebration of that moment can become a radical reclamation of history. **

Event photos, top right. 

An Evening of Live Music happened on July 11. The All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm group exhibition is on at David Roberts Art Foundation, running June 5 to August 1, 2015.

Header image: Evan Ifekoya performing at All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm: An Evening of Live Music at DRAF, 2015. Photo: Dan Weill 

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