Plymouth Arts Centre is holding the exhibition premiere of Larry Achiampong and David Blandy’s film trilogy Finding Fanon (2015-17). Recently shown as a one off screening at Tate Modern, the trilogy is a moving and multi-layered exploration of race, identity and globalisation.
The films move between past, present and future, blending personal histories and pop culture with science fiction and post-colonial theory. Footage of the artists shot in empty coastal and rural locations is collaged with their avatars wandering the deserted scenarios of Grand Theft Auto.
Inspired by the lost plays of radical thinker Frantz Fanon (1925–1961) and his 1952 book Black Skins White Masks, the two artists negotiate Fanon’s ideas, examining the politics of race, racism and the post-colonial, and how these societal issues affect their relationship.
This is played out through a script that melds found texts and personal testimony, transposing their drama to an unspecified time in the future, jumping between a junkyard houseboat, concrete bunkers and pastoral and CGI landscapes. Navigating the past, present and future, Achiampong and Blandy question the promise of globalisation, recognising its impact on their own heritage.
Two FF Gaiden films will be shown on monitors alongside the trilogy. These are produced through long term engagement with communities that narrates the experiences of participants, from paperless migrants in Oslo to imprisoned veterans. Blandy and Achiampong will also present work from their individual practices, including paintings, photographs and prints.
Plymouth Arts Centre artistic director Ben Borthwick says:
“With the Finding Fanon trilogy David Blandy and Larry Achiampong have created an extraordinary body of work. Reflecting on how we negotiate the histories we inherit and the futures we create, these films define a momentous era linking the end of the British Empire with a future that will now take place post-Brexit.”
Plymouth Arts Centre will be screening David Blandy’s short film Tutorial before cinema screenings for the first week of the exhibition (from Friday 7 to Thursday 13 July), courtesy of Random Acts.
Preview: Thursday 6 July, 6-8pm. David Blandy and Larry Achiampong will be in conversation with Ben Borthwick, PAC Artistic Director at 7pm
A programme of Lunchtime Talks and Creative Learning activities will accompany the exhibition:
Lunchtime Talks (Free and open to all, no booking required)
Wednesday 12 July, 1pm
Join us for a talk by the exhibition’s curators.
Wednesday 2 August, 1pm
PAC To The Future! We give the floor to artists and curators of the future. By young people and for everyone (adults also welcome), this family friendly talk will be presented by a budding art aficionado, who will share their thoughts and opinions about the exhibition. Ages 8 and above.
Wednesday 9 August, 1pm
Hannah Wood, founder of Story Juice and creator of 2014’s interactive theatre game Resurgam will discuss ‘Between Self and Other’: Player-characters, narrative, agency and identity in video games.
Family Art Workshop: Ava-go, Avatar
Saturday 29 July, 1.30–4.30pm, £5 per family
In this family workshop for all ages, shapes and sizes we will make wearable charms and ornamental accessories for an imaginary game landscape. Your life is your very own action adventure: dream big!
Bringing In Baby: To The Gallery
Tuesday 8 August, 11am–12 noon
Adults and under 1s. £2 includes a hot drink.
Drop in for a guided tour of the exhibition with our visual arts team and your little ones. After exploring the artwork in the galleries all are welcome to relax in the comfort of the cafe and meet other parents with a passion for culture over a coffee.
(from a press release)