Exhibition review by Bo Olawoye, Freelance Learning Curator & Consultant, currently based in Nottingham.
The triptych video installation by artist collective Common Culture is an immersive visual and sound piece that celebrates the numerous festivals that take place in Hyson Green. Commissioned by New Art Exchange, Common Culture explored how festivals celebrate cultural diverse communities and what it means to be ‘British’ now.
As you enter into the main gallery space you are surrounded by three large video projections. In the first image you see is of the Rwandan born, Scottish actor Ncutti Gatwa who is your guide and narrator. He speaks directly to you asking the viewer a series of questions about your personal history, identity and more ambiguously to ‘take off the mask’ The mask is an open question and links to the other worldly quality of festivals, where we can transform ourselves through costume, loose our inhibitions and leave our conventional lives behind.
Each of the three screens show an array of locally based musicians and performers, captured in a moment of rehearsal, creating a multilayered soundscape. These layers represent how culture constantly moves and collides. This is Common Culture’s festival of the future and their response to being ‘outsiders’ to the local area.
In the central gallery Common Culture have created a cinematic text based account of the making of Not necessarily in the Right Order. This sequence is a direct replica of the credits for the science fiction blockbuster, Star Wars (1977). Dated in the future and this is a record of Common Culture’s experience of creating the commission, working with the local musicians, film crew and New Art Exchange staff. It is a very honest and humorous account of the process of ‘collaboration’ that is not usually revealed to the public.
Not necessarily in the Right Order is a thought provoking and multi-sensory piece that allows the viewer to experience and question what is a contemporary festival?
Freelance Learning Curator & Consultant, currently based in Nottingham.