Since first embarking on their joint practice in 2013, the artists have performed and presented their work nationally and internationally but have not, until now, been the subject of a singular exhibition.
Opening 4 May 2016, FF Gaiden: Alternative is a major new moving image piece commissioned from Larry Achiampong and David Blandy by The Gallery. The work forms part of the artists’ on-going Finding Fanon series inspired by the lost plays of Frantz Fanon (1925-1961), a politically radical humanist who supported the decolonisation struggles after World War II.
Fanon, who served in the Free French Army during WWII, later became Head of Psychiatry at the Blida-Joinville Hospital, Algeria, where, whilst treating Algerian and French soldiers, he observed the effects of colonial violence on the human psyche. He saw violence as the defining characteristic of colonialism and conversely as a cathartic reaction against oppression.
FF Gaiden: Alternative uses the virtual gaming world of ‘Grand Theft Auto 5’ to explore the writings of Frantz Fanon, whilst also asking what it means to be entering the adult world at this precise moment in time.
Created by a process of collaboration between Achiampong and Blandy with young people participating in The Factory, Tyneside Cinema’s free arts programme for young people. FF Gaiden: Alternative combines a plethora of material gleaned from their conversations about contemporary identity; thoughts about how relationships and identities are formed through the virtual world; and an original, encapsulating, synth-driven soundtrack that contextualises the intense, high definition visuals and stories of the film.