Using the decommissioned industrial apparatus of the former factory in which Vivid Projects in situated, Lewis Jacob reanimates the architectural space in dialogue with the rich archival sources explored in his video works, People Meeting In A Room (2019) and Idrish (ইদ্রিস) (2021). Both video works were developed through research focused on the TURC Video archive, part of the Birmingham Trade Union Resource Centre and an antecedent of Vivid Projects.
Across three years immersion in the archive, Lewis Jacob has considered the form and function, motifs and symbology of distributed, grassroots media campaigns of the trade union movement. His research is closely informed by the activism undertaken by workers and campaigners at Birmingham’s Trade Union Resource Centre, ‘TURC’, who facilitated access to media for public education and awareness.
The two central films which will be screened throughout the exhibition reflect on the joint struggles between anti-racist and trade union movements in the 1980’s and draw on campaigns documented by the Birmingham Trade Union Research Council’s video filming and distribution initiative, TURC Video.
Stylistically, Idrish (ইদ্রিস) filmed in Birmingham and Bangladesh in 2020 draws from the rich archival sources explored in Lewis Jacob’s earlier work, People Meeting In A Room. In both works, Lewis Jacob deploys a range of visual strategies from animation, to archive film, stills and evocative original sound design by Claude Nouk. Nouk’s audio strategies mirror Lewis Jacob’s visual approach – reusing, remoulding and remixing archival sounds, using rapid montages to reanimate archival narratives with a new urgency. The motifs and graphic elements - in notably, satirical cartoonist Steve Bell’s penguin characters, reimagined by animator Jason Kerley - spill out from the projection room an occupy other spaces.
Working with the recent industrial context of the site, using motifs of repetition, labour and community, Lewis Jacob’s exhibition thus creates a context for engagement with the complex histories of the site and it’s histories. Images, campaign flyers and texts found in the archive are reimagined. By bringing the past into the present the exhibition collapses time, policies and images echo throughout the space, reflecting the changes the local area has undergone in the shift from manufacturing to entertainment, factory to cafe culture.
The Factory opens 6-8pm Digbeth First Friday 04/11/22, then continues Thursday-Saturday 12-5pm until 19/11/22.
The Factory is supported by: Vivid Projects, Arts Council England and Creative Scotland. The film People Meeting in a Room was co-commissioned by Vivid Projects and Animate Projects, supported by Jerwood Arts and the National Lottery through Arts Council England.