HS Projects curated its first major group exhibition, ‘Interchange Junctions’, at 5 Howick Place. The exhibition examines contested cultural and political histories, which carry special resonance at Howick Place, named after Viscount Howick (later 2nd Earl Grey) one of the main architects of the Reform Act 1832, Catholic emancipation and the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.
‘Interchange Junctions’ follows on from Yinka Shonibare’s permanent commission ‘Wind Sculpture’, a site specific response to the history of the area and continues Shonibare’s focus on themes of colonialism, trade, and race, employing the artist’s signature use of batik Dutch wax fabric designs which have become synonymous with African identity.
The artists in the exhibition have been invited to create a dialogue with Yinka Shonibare’s ‘Wind Sculpture’, with the multi-cultural aspect of the exhibition paying homage to the enlightened actions carried out in the name of Howick. Through a range of media from film, animation, sculpture, collage, photography, drawing, painting and performance, the artists seek to explore cultural frameworks and issues of identity and how we negotiate these through the historical legacy of our collective past and our ever evolving multi-cultural global world.
‘Interchange Junctions’ offers the opportunity to experience a number of new works and site specific commissions as well as works that have not been shown in London before. Ideas of mobility, memory and transmission, migration, trade and colonial struggle are explored along with notions of social awareness and engagement. Misinterpretation and misplacement of accepted norms from one culture to another are part of a discourse on friction between cultures, identity and cultural belonging. Notions of power, success and failure run through the exhibition challenging long held assumptions.
Participating artists: Faisal Abdu’Allah, Larry Achiampong, Faig Ahmed, Alice Anderson, Shiraz Bayjoo, David Blandy, Phoebe Boswell, Jessie Brennan, Fiona Curran, Corinne Felgate, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Romuald Hazoumè, Rob Kesseler, Alex Lawler, Alan Magee, Jade Montserrat, Alida Rodrigues, Zineb Sedira, Shahzia Sikander, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Michelle Ussher, Andy Wicks and BA(Hons) Ceramic Design Central Saint Martins students (Lucy Anderson, Sarah Christie, Yung Cheuk Chung, Srabani Ghosh, Ziynet Hidiroglu, Ellis Hooson, Sun-a Kim, Friedrich Ly Thien Co, Jessica Martin, David McQuire, Megan Niell, Niamh Philips, Jose Salgrado De Lacerda, Harriet Sennett, Sandra Stallard, Akville Zukauskaite).
During the closing event of 19th June, there was a rap performance by David Blandy and Larry Achiampong who under the alias ‘Biters’, examined the possibility for truthful, authentic experience via the popular cultures that have influenced them. They investigated what identity might mean in the post-colonial and post-mass media age by crate-digging through history, recycling already-sampled beats and reciting stolen rhymes.
‘Interchange Junctions’ was funded by Invesco Real Estate (IRE) and Urban & Civic, the joint developer behind 5 Howick Place with Doughty Hanson & Co Real Estate.
‘Interchange Junctions’ was at 5 Howick Place, Victoria London, from 10 May – 21 June 2014.
‘Choose Your Character: A Documentary’ celebrated a particular sub-cultural obsession, the computer fighting game, by looking at the community that surrounds this activity. What drives people to seek to find themselves in these products of global culture and what authenticity and the underground mean in the internet-driven world.
A small group of selected participants, aged 18-25, many of whom not in formal education, employment or training, were taught all the skills necessary to craft their own documentary projects, from planning, filming, recording sound, and editing to publicity and the final presentation.
‘Choose Your Character: A Documentary’ built on David Blandy’s ongoing research into identity and its relationship to consumer and underground culture, highlighting the slippage and tension between fantasy and reality in everyday life.
The participants concentrated on making a video self-portrait, using their games-playing as a central motif. The films that were produced were edited in a series of group workshops, to form a film that creates a picture of a community through intimate portraits of individuals. For the final filming session all the participants converged for an evening of competitive games playing.
This project transformed the participants’ outlook on their lives. It showed them that not only are their lives and passions worthwhile, but that through dedication and hard work, change in the real world and in their daily lives, is achievable.
‘Choose Your Character, A Documentary’ was commissioned by HS Projects and funded by the Insight Community Arts Programme (2002 – 2015).
The project ran from April to September 2012.