Larry Achiampong David Blandy
Larry Achiampong David Blandy
‘Finding Fanon 1' (2015)
UHD digital video, 15 min. 22 sec.
Photo: Claire Barrett
Courtesy of the artists
Larry Achiampong (b. 1984, United Kingdom) and David Blandy (b. 1976, United Kingdom) have worked collaboratively since 2013. Recent exhibitions together include: Larry Achiampong & David Blandy (2016), The Gallery, Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne; Finding Fanon Part Two (2015), Brighton Digital Festival; Media Minerals – Larry Achiampong & David Blandy (2015), Dolph Projects, London; and Wir Sind Alle Berliner: 1884–2014 (2015), ICI, Berlin. Achiampong lives and works in London. He has participated in exhibitions both nationally and worldwide. Recent exhibitions include: Histories of a Vanishing Present: A Prologue (2016), The Mistake Room, California; Hemmer: Secret Agent (2016), Guest Projects, London; London Film Festival (Experimenta: Second Sight) (2015), British Film Institute, London; GHOSTS (2015), Hangar, Lisbon; The Chimurenga Library: The Pan African Space Station (2015), The Showroom, London; Curators Series #8: All of Us Have a Sense of Rhythm (2015), David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Residual: Traces of the Black Body (2015), New Art Exchange, Nottingham; among others. Blandy lives and works in Brighton and London. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally, and is represented by Seventeen, London. His films are distributed through LUX. His recent exhibitions include: Citadel: David Blandy (2016), The Exchange, Penzance; the 59th BFI London Film Festival (2015), BFI Southbank, London; Hercules Rough Cut: David Blandy (2015), Bloomberg Space, London; The Vanishing Point of History (2015), Centre d’art et Photographie de Lectoure, France; Extinction Marathon: Visions of the Future (2014), Serpentine Gallery, London; 3rd Bahia Biennale (2014), Modern Art Museum of Bahia, Brazil; among others.
To highlight our relationship with popular culture and to investigate what makes us who we are, David Blandy works with imagery found in the digital world – from YouTube tutorials and music videos to television series, anime, and the narrative sections of computer games. Within each work – from large-scale installation to single-screen work – he deconstructs the form, placing himself as the alienated subject in a prefabricated cultural archetype. Throughout this process Blandy questions our relationship with the narratives that surround and shape us to find out what forms the contemporary collective unconscious.
Larry Achiampong’s practice uses sound, live performance, and imagery to explore the representations of identity in the digital age and the dichotomies found within a world dominated by Facebook / Tumblr / YouTube–based cultures. He searches the vaults of history, splicing audible and visual qualities of the personal and interpersonal archive-as-material, offering multiple dispositions to reveal the sociopolitical contradictions in contemporary society.
Blandy and Achiampong have collaborated on projects since 2013, including Finding Fanon (2015–present) and Biters (2013–present). In their collaborative practice, they share an interest in popular culture and the postcolonial position. They analyse communal and personal heritage, using performance to examine the self as a fiction, devising alter egos to point towards their divided selves.
Finding Fanon 1 and Finding Fanon 2 (both 2015), the two works exhibited for EVA International 2016, are the first and second parts in a series of works inspired by the lost plays of Frantz Fanon (1925–61), a politically radical humanist whose practice dealt with the psychopathology of colonization and the social and cultural consequences of decolonization.
In Finding Fanon 1, the two artists negotiate Fanon’s ideas, examining the politics and affect of race, racism, and the postcolonial. The conflict between these societal issues is played out through a script that melds found texts and personal testimony, transposing their drama to a junkyard houseboat at an unspecified time in the future. Navigating the past, present, and future, Achiampong and Blandy question the promise of globalization by recognizing the impact it has on their own heritage.
Finding Fanon 2 collides art-house cinema with digital culture’s gaming- and media-streaming website Machinima. The result is a work that explores the postcolonial condition from inside a simulated environment – the Grand Theft Auto 5 in-game video editor. This video work combines several stories, including how the artists’ familial histories relate to colonial history, an examination of how their relationship is formed through the virtual space, and thoughts on the implications of the posthuman condition.