AboutUnderbelly is the collaborative debut of electronic musician Chairman Kato and spacial animator Chris Stoneman. A site-specific installation in the heart of Spitalfields, it is both a reaction to and a reaction against the teahouse under which it lives.
Their individual practices of music and animation lent themselves to natural combination, but the pair were keen to create a unique and immersive experience for their audience. The inspiration revealed itself naturally through hours spent at the counter of Teasmith, discussing shared passions of music and science fiction with the shop's owner. The pair set about building a structure inspired by the notion of taking those subtle underlying themes and turning them inside out, creating the warped, dark heart of a luxury teahouse in the middle of gentrified East London.
With the basement completely customised, Kato composed a piece of music that was both intensely personal and relevant to his surroundings. âScar Clearance' consists of three sections, each derived from the preceding passage. Through judicious use of editing, pitchshifting and tempo change, Scar Clearance's sections evolve into each other, taking us on a chaotic journey.
Chris' work looks at the slip between discipline, object and environment through projection and the moving image. He responded by making a sculptural, experiential piece of animation that compliments the twists and turns of Kato's music. Chris is interested in extending beyond what is often a screen based medium to notions of engagement with sculpture, participation and the outcome of illusion.
As you descend the stairs into the basement and enter Underbelly, the artists ask us to set aside our preconceptions and engage with the feel, the sights and the sounds. Stemming from the belief that art is what we make of it, they leave us to explore the foreboding shadows and noise that await us.