Video Jam x Basquiat
28th January 2018 / Barbican Hall / 20:00
Tickets £17.50-£22.50 available here.
Artists from either side of the Atlantic come together for an evening of new short films with original live soundtracks – all inspired by the life and works of Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Video Jam x Basquiat presents a unique programme of new short films with live musical accompaniment responding to ‘Basquiat: Boom For Real’, the first ever UK retrospective of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work which runs from 21st September 2017-28th January 2018 at the Barbican Centre (London). The event will be the official closing event to the exhibition.
All presenting newly commissioned work, NYC-based filmmakers and musicians from the UK at all stages in their career have been carefully selected, taking into consideration Basquiat’s relationship to TV, film and music, and placing him within the wider context of his own time and now. The film work covers a diverse range of genres - hand drawn animation, essay film, narrative, video art and more, while the musicians chosen – including the Mercury Prize winning Young Fathers and the Afro-tinged Ibibio Sound Machine – reflect Basquiat’s wide ranging musical tastes, from Bebop and Jazz to Hip Hop and experimental Noise.
MEET THE ARTISTS
Young Fathers ‘G’ Hastings, from Edinburgh, Alloysious Massaquoi, originally from Liberia via Ghana and Kayus Bankole, born in Edinburgh to Nigerian parents but partially raised in Maryland USA, all 28 years old. Their live shows are complimented by Steven Morrison on drums. The group formed after meeting at an under-16s hip hop night at the infamous Bongo Club in Edinburgh when they were all in their teens. Almost immediately they started writing and recording together, initially on an old karaoke machine plugged into a cheap cassette recorder at G’s parents house. In 2011 they set about writing a mini-album (or ‘mixtape’ as it was called) TAPE ONE in just over a week, finishing a track a day and having it available for download within two weeks of recording. They quickly followed this up with TAPE TWO, which was written and recorded in a similar fashion. Los Angeles based label, Anticon, discovered them online and within a few months had signed them for a short deal that saw both TAPEs officially released in 2013. The group, meanwhile, continued to tour, gathering an impressive reputation as a formidable live act. They played all over Europe and made their US debut at SXSW in March 2013. Following support from the BBC’s Zane Lowe and Lauren Laverne, and an appearance on influential USA talk show, Jimmy Kimmel in 2014, TAPE TWO won Scottish Album Of The Year (‘The SAY Award’), while their next album, DEAD, received the highly prestigious Mercury Prize for best album of 2014. Immediately after winning the Mercury Prize, Young Fathers travelled to Berlin where they continued making their new album in a freezing basement in a building near the railway yards. Returning to the more familiar (and warmer) basement studio in Edinburgh to finish their latest album, White Men Are Black Men Too, which was released in April 2015. Young Fathers toured extensively in 2015, playing the UK, large swathes of Europe and did a six week stint in the USA. In 2016, the band were invited to support Massive Attack on their UK and European tour after working together on Massive Attack’s single “Voodoo In My Blood”, which was released in January 2016. Young Fathers feature 6 tracks on the Trainspotting T2 soundtrack, including “Only God Knows”, written specifically for the film. They are currently recording in the studio.
Ibibio Sound Machine
Fronted by London-born Nigerian singer Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine is a clash of African and electronic elements inspired in equal measure by the golden era of West-African funk & disco and modern post-punk & electro. Weird and wonderful folk stories, recounted to Eno by her family as a child in her mother’s Ibibio tongue, form the creative fabric from which the band’s unique musical tapestry is woven. Evocative Nigerian poetic imagery set against an edgy Afro-Electro soundscape by producers Max Grunhard, Leon Brichard & Benji Bouton give the band a unique space within the current wave of modern Afrocentric sounds sweeping across the globe. The band’s self-titled debut album was released in 2014 to great acclaim. Ibibio Sound Machine are Eno Williams (vocals), Alfred Kari Bannerman (guitar), Anselmo Netto (percussion), Jose Joyette (drums), John McKenzie (bass), Tony Hayden (trombone, synth), Scott Baylis (trumpet, synth), and Max Grunhard (saxophone, synth).
Composer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Seaming To was born in London and comes from a family of concert pianists. She studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and during her time in Manchester began performing and releasing albums with supergroups Homelife (Ninja Tune) and Graham Massey’s Toolshed. She has appeared on BBC Radio (Radio 3′s Mixing It/LateJunction/Radio 1′s Breezeblock show/6 Music) and performed and toured the UK, Europe and the Far East. To has been described as ‘the voice of a 21st Century’ (Radio1), and an artist that is truly ‘avant garde’ (Robert Wyatt). Her experimental ethos and mastery across a variety of instruments has enabled her to collaborate with some of the most respected and radical artists of this decade, particularly in electronic, classical and experimental genres. She has been seen to perform and record with Robert Wyatt, Jean Claude Vannier, Herbaliser, Punchdrunk Theatre, James Ford (SMD), Leila on Warp records, electronic outfit Funckarma, Michael England, Forkbeard Fantasy Theatre, Leon Michener, Bordeaux Symphony Orchestra, composer Larry Goves, pianist Matthew Bourne and Mayming, an experimental duo with cellist Semay Wu. Seaming has composed music for film and theatre which includes Stormbringer at the National Theatre, Jenna Collins’ film More Real Than The Every Day World (of which toured numerous venues in the UK), Forkbeard Fantasy animations and theatre productions of Invisible Bonfires, Rough Magyck, The Colour of Nonsense; soundtrack for Maya Deren’s At Land (performed at the Barbican) and Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon, performed live, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall for Birds Eye View’s Sounds and Silents, Latitude Festival and Opera North Howard Assembly Rooms in Leeds.
Woddy Green is an upcoming artist and member of Manchester Hip-Hop collective 'Roots Raddix', is celebrated for his imaginative word play and unique flows. Woddy’s music is both captivating and complex. His accent swings from London to Manchester with twinges of a more worldly sound, from the US to the Caribbean sprinkled for good measure, making for a fascinating listen. With a project in the making, he is one Hip-Hop heads can relate to. Layfullstop is a female hip hop / soul artist from Manchester, by way of Birmingham.Now seen as one of Manchester’s very own, Lay has been performing on stages alongside well established collectives 'Cul Dè Sac' and 'Roots Raddix', and has managed to build a cult following since the release of her solo tracks 'Ying Yang' and 'Aura' on Youtube. Lay’s style is an authentic mix, where at times singing in the sweetest of tones, while being able to unleash ferocious bars with such seamlessness, neither style is compromised. Complete with individual eccentricity, this headstrong, fun loving introvert is letting her music do the talking, and with the year ahead, Layfullstop is definitely one to watch for 2017.
David McLean is a Manchester based multi-instrumentalist, improviser and founder of Tombed Visions Records. His solo projects include Stushevatsya and Punctum and plays in groups such as River Slaughter, Cornered Yet Climbing, Gnod, Action Beat, Charles Hayward's Anonymous Bash, Lake of Snakes, Severed Shadow, Aging and Naked (On Drugs). As an active member of Manchester's improvised music scene, McLean has performed and collaborated with Colin Webster, Pascal Nichols, Kelly Jayne Jones, Sam Weaver, Andrew Cheetham, Otto Willberg, Mark Hanslip, David Birchall, Lauren Bolger, Sam Andreae, Some Some Unicorn as well as international musicians such as Thurston Moore, Konstrukt, Damo Suzuki and Weasel Walter. This January, he completed a musical residency at Islington Mill, Salford with pulp fiction writer Phil Carney, creating a new kind of Film Noir Theatre performance with a large ensemble of musicians and actors to recreate Carney’s short stories. He has also recently scored music for Portico Library Prize winning crime author Ben Myers, using excerpts from his critically acclaimed book Turning Blue.
Danalogue (Live) featuring Sarathy Korwar, Leafcutter John and Idris Rahman
Danalogue is a synthesiser/saxophone player and producer. Responsible for Mercury Prize nominated The Comet is Coming and synth-drum duo Soccer96, Danalogue operates from legendary studio of the underground The Total Refreshment Centre, with recent production credits including Ibibio Sound Machine, Flamingods, Vels Trio and Snapped Ankles. This new project is a collaboration with the inventive and playful instrument maker and sound designer Leafcutter John, percussionist, composer and classically trained Tabla player Sarathy Korwar, and Soothsayers' Tenor Saxophone player/producer Idris Rahman. Danalogue wishes to create engaging live, organic performance with mechanical analogue synthesis (using his trademark Roland Juno-60 and SH-09), in order to to induce audio-hallucinatory states through transience, creating forms that are solid but not fixed, and that belong to the occasion in which they are found.
Presence, Hayley Elizabeth Anderson
Haley Elizabeth Anderson
Presence - commissioned especially for this event - is a double frame film portrait dedicated to Jean Michel Basquiat's painting Defacement and his work as SAMO (which stands for Same Old Shit). Painted after the death of fellow artist Michael Stewart and not intended for exhibiton, Defacement's history and intention informs Presence, an exploration of Basquiat's reflection on Stewart's death: "It could have been me." The young men who move within the two frames engaging in mundance activies expressing joy, frustration and contemplation could be Basquiat of Michael Stewart - there is no differentation between the two and the images, inspired by elements from both men's lives, could be either's existence.
Haley Elizabeth Anderson is a filmmaker from Texas, currently a Dean’s Fellow at NYU’s graduate film program where she is developing her first feature film. Inspired by her southern roots she has developed a unique aesthetic, capturing Gulf Coast culture. Shooting on a variety of formats and taking visual inspiration from Haitian and Puerto-Rican culture, Haley’s film will draw on Basquiat’s relationship to police brutality as depicted in his painting Defacement.
Victoria Keddie, Testpattern (new commission for Video Jam x Basquiat)
Victoria Keddie is an artist working in sound, video, and transmission. Keddie works with electronic sound and video composition and choreography. Of interest are the fluctuations of electromagnetic activity, stereoscopic image and dimensional spaces, satellite debris and collision, image and sound synchronicity and collapse, time sensitivity, and the body in relation to the machine. For five years she has been Co-Director of E.S.P. TV, a nomadic TV studio that hybridizes technologies to realize synthetic environments and deconstruct the televisual for live performance. Her video works are distributed through Lightcone, (Paris), and she has performed and exhibited internationally at venues and festivals such as The Kitchen, Museum of Moving Image, The Museum of Art and Design, Anthology Film Archives (NYC), Human Resources (Los Angeles), Studio XX (Montreal), LOOP Festival (Barcelona). Victoria’s film for Video Jam takes inspiration from the pioneering use of video and video broadcast, a nascent art form in the 1980s. Keddie will use the tools of lo-fi video to explore the portability, speed and colour of analogue video.
Ephraim Asili, Sketches and Portraits for Jean Michel
Ephraim Asili is a Filmmaker, DJ, and Traveler whose work focuses on the African diaspora as a cultural force. His films have screened in festivals and venues all over the world, including the New York Film Festival, NY; Toronto International Film Festival, Canada; Ann Arbor Film Festival, MI; San Francisco International Film Festival, CA; Milano Film Festival, Italy; International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands; MoMA PS1, NY; LAMOCA, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; and the Whitney Museum, NY. As a DJ, Asili can be heard on his radio program In The Cut on WGXC, or live at his monthly dance party Botanica. Asili currently resides in Hudson, NY, and is a Professor in the Film and Electronic Arts Department at Bard
Topher Campbell, Invisible
Topher Campbell is a director of film, television and theatre and writer. He has directed plays at numerous theatres across the UK. He is a recipient of the 2005 Jerwood Directors Award. In 2000 alongside artist-photographer Ajamu he set up rukus! Federation Ltd, an artist led company dedicated to presenting the best work by Black Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual, Transgender (BLGBT) artists. Current projects include the UK's first and only BLGBT Archive now housed at the London Metropolitan Archive. In 2008 rukus! received the Archive Landmark Award by London Metropolitan Archive. His short films The Homecoming and Mulatto Song (Ch4) have been shown worldwide. His documentary In This Our Lives The Reunion was an official selection at the 2009 BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and screened at Pembehayatkuirfest 2016 Istanbul. Topher's film for Video Jam will be an exploration of black masculinity, socio-political power relations and identity, shot on the streets of New York City.
Gabrielle Ledet and Jack Wedge, Fishbowl
Gabrielle Ledet & Jack Wedge
Painter, designer and filmmaker Gabrielle Ledet is based in New Orleans. Her work explores black identity. In March she was interviewed about her life and work for YouTube’s StyleLikeU channel which has since received over 50K views. For Video Jam, Gabrielle will be incorporating live action sequences of her painting in her studio with colourful hand drawn animation, the tone and rhythm of which will take inspiration from jazz and bebop.
Gabrielle will be working with NYC based animator Jack Wedge to realise her film, who is a 20 year old artist from N.Y. He is currently at NYU studying Film and Video games. He is interested in surreal and subliminal storytelling, taking inspiration from German Expressionism, Wernor Herzog, David Lynch, Hayao Miyazaki. He is most interested in how he can use commentary and satire to help the world, specifically involving environmental conservation, civil rights, and getting rid of the 45th president.
Scout Stuart, Leg, Arm, Head (2016)
Scout Stuart is a filmmaker, screenwriter and moving image artist from Manchester, currently based in London. As a screenwriter, her short films have received funding and support from BFI.NETWORK and Creative England and have been screened at major international festivals including Edinburgh (EIFF) and Palm Springs. She has received support from Arts Council England for her moving image work and from The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation as a director. Scout’s film for the Barbican will take inspiration from Basquiat’s prolific use of text and his wide literary influences.
RUFF MERCY, official music video for jonwayne ‘LIVE from the f*ck you
RUFFMERCY is a UK animation director. After cutting his teeth at MTV in the late 90’s as a promo producer he moved onto become a freelancer animator working for a variety of broadcasting networks and agencies before moving into the world of music videos full time around 2001. He has become known for his loose hand drawn animation style sometimes utilised over live footage and mostly within the genre of Hip Hop music.