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Out and About on the Art Night trail: Vauxhall

As you may know, this year’s curatorial themes are ‘home’ and ‘urban landscape’, which are especially relevant to this area south of the river. Vauxhall is home to some of the oldest public gardens in London– locations for entertainment and leisure for hundreds of years. Vauxhall continues to grow as a dynamic area with new developments and contemporary galleries moving into the neighbourhood, including Art Night Open venues Newport Street Gallery, Gasworks, Beaconsfield Gallery and Brocket Gallery.

Vauxhall Park. Image via Kennington Runoff

On the Art Night programme this year, artist Prem Sahib is utilising one of the many green spaces in the area, presenting a new work co-commissioned by the Contemporary Art Society inside Vauxhall Park titled 500 Sq ft (2018), based on the footprint of a typical one-bedroom flat. Vauxhall Park is a Victorian park, which has been a haven of tranquility and escape for the Lambeth community for over 125 years. The volunteer group Friends of Vauxhall Park continue to protect and enhance the park through community initiatives, such as gardening.

Although Prem Sahib’s work is set in Vauxhall Park, 500 Sq ft is inspired by the rich history of nearby Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. Previously open as one of the few ‘Pleasure Gardens’ or ‘Spring Gardens’ from 1661 to 1859, these were more than just public gardens or green spaces – they were venues for art, music and theatre. Sahib’s work draws on these notions of green spaces transforming into indecorous spaces after dark, taking the form of a modular, maze-like structure inspired by paths and walkways.  The Museum of London describes Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens historically displaying ‘paintings by William Hogarth and Francis Hayman in its supper booths, effectively becoming the first public art gallery in Britain.’ Art Night continues this tradition by making Vauxhall a space for public art to be enjoyed as both day- and night-time entertainment.

In addition to Sahib’s work in Vauxhall Park, he and his fellow artist/DJs George Henry Longly and Eddie Peake will be hosting a club night at Bloc South in Vauxhall. Early bird tickets for AHMD are on sale now, get them while they’re hot here.

Art Night Open project Vicky Long & Scenografika, supported by Vauxhall One, also pays homage to the Pleasure Gardens, with a neon sign ‘pleasure,’ set within the Gardens.

Halil Altindere, Mars Mission #2, 2016, C-print, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and Pilot Gallery, Istanbul

Two minutes’ walk away from the parks is the British Interplanetary Society (founded in 1933!), the oldest space advocacy organisation in the world. For Art Night the Society will open its doors to the public for Halil Altındere’s multi-media installation Space Refugee (2016–18) which explores the story of Muhammed Ahmed Faris, the first Syrian Cosmonaut. The installation is set up like an old-fashioned space museum, with ‘artefacts’ of space travel and a newly commissioned bust of the cosmonaut. At the forefront of the project is a video showing Muhammed Ahmed Faris in conversation with other refugees, discussing the possibility of returning to their homeland or creating new homes on other planets where they will feel welcome. As Faris states in the video: “I hope we can rebuild cities for them in space, where there is freedom and dignity and where there is no tyranny, no injustice.”

Cécile B. Evans, Amos’ World. Episode One, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Emanuel Layr

Along your way, don’t forget to head to Spectrecom Studios on Kennington Road, where you’ll find yourself in a fully kitted-out television studio for a special live recording! Cécile B. Evans is at Spectrecom Studios for Art Night, filming the final episode of her three part video work Amos’ World: Amos’ World is Live.  The plot centres around a fictional TV show depicting a socially progressive housing estate, which melds puppetry and CGI with live action actors. You, as the audience, will have a chance to have a hand in the decision making in the story, making this a truly unique piece for Art Night. Please bear in mind that there is limited capacity in this venue and that entry will be first-come, first-serve for each performance. Street Food trucks provided by Street Dots will be on hand outside to give you sustenance for the night ahead.

We’d recommend heading to Vauxhall via the bespoke MBNA Thames Clippers service, which runs on Art Night from 7pm until 4am! Book your 50% off return or hop on, hop off River Roamer tickets now here using the code ARTNIGHT18 at checkout. Hurry; the offer is only valid until 30 June! From Vauxhall Pier, the first project you will come across will be Self and Other (for the Albert Embankment) (2018), Random International’s first permanent, public, outdoor work in the UK. Presented by curator Futurecity, this responsive sculpture translates the onlooker’s full-length, moving reflection into light, captured within large layers of glass. Random International will once again collaborate with Studio Wayne McGregor for a special performance choreographed in response to the work as part of Art Night, which you can see on the hour from 6pm–10pm. Random International are working with Future/Pace; Self and Other (for the Albert Embankment) has been commissioned by St James, part of the Berkeley Group, for its redevelopment of Albert Embankment.

Urban Planting

Bonnington Square. Image via Composition Wonderland

When you find yourself wandering through Vauxhall on the Art Night trail, look out for the urban planting throughout the area. There are charming corners of greenery situated on Vauxhall Walk, Pedlars Park, and Old Paradise Street. On your way to Beaconsfield Gallery and Newport Street Gallery for more of our Art Night Open events, keep an eye out for a refreshing amount of foliage around you.

More in the area

True Colours installation view, Boo Saville, courtesy Newport Street Gallery. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

In Whose Eyes?, a group exhibition looking at feminist ideologies by collective Practice in Dialogue, will be exhibited at Beaconsfield Gallery, with botanical cocktails from the Ragged Canteen available whilst you wander around the space. At Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery, there will be a special event in response to the current exhibition True Colours: a night of music curated by the exhibiting artists. The playlists will play through the galleries – don’t miss the live DJ set in Pharmacy by Boo Saville.

Miriam Austin, still from Objects for a Mourning Ritual (2016)

There are many unusual or private spaces in Vauxhall that you may not have the chance to see except on Art Night, keeping to our ethos of art in unexpected London locations.

Head to the Members room of the KIA Oval Cricket Ground to see Laura Malacart and Andrej Bako The Little Book of Answers (2018); see Colette Sadler and Mikko Gaestel’s video work Body A at St Peter’s Church; and watch the results of the Art Night Film School as part of our Outreach programme at the Vauxhall Community Centre. Other projects in the area include Ben Hughes’ ceramic works at Brocket London, as well as Helena de Pulford, Jack Evans and Oona Wilkinson’s installation The Floor is Lava at Subsidiary Projects. And if you feel early bedtime isn’t an option, you’re spoilt for choice between Prem Sahib’s AHMD or ‘Duckie presents Gay Shame 2018: The Light at the End of the Tunnel’ at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

Food and drink

Looking for special cocktails, or a bite to eat in the midst of the trail?

Not only will Brunswick House stay open until 2am with champagne, oysters and cocktails, there will also be a projection onto the the front of the 18th Century mansion for Art Night Open, titled Wandsworth Road (2018) by Charlotte Colbert. Get yourself on to the MBNA Thames Clippers Art Night service until 4am and experience The Secret Life of the Potato – the ‘floating arts bar’ with tuber-based libations and snacks by the endlessly innovative Bompas and Parr.

If you are coming to London for Art Night and want to get into the spirit of art-inspired experiences before 7 July, Chino Latino are holding an immersive dining experience inspired by the inimitable Yayoi Kusama on Friday 6 July. With a menu including black cod, lobster and an immersive dessert room, you’ll be surrounded by Kusama’s trademark dots while you gaze out of the twelfth floor window over the river towards the Houses of Parliament. In addition, on Art Night itself, you’ll be able to get a delicious Mojito there for £7.

A selection of dishes from the Yayoi Kusama-inspired dinner at Chino Latino

We’re excited to explore this area further – let us know if you are coming on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter!

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Out and About on the Art Night trail: Nine Elms & Battersea

This year, the Art Night trail begins by the iconic Battersea Power Station and runs through to the South Bank, via Vauxhall and Nine Elms. We’re here to take you through the things to see and do in the Nine Elms area, whether on Art Night itself or in the coming weeks.

On 7 July Nine Elms will feature four Hayward Gallery-curated artist projects: Suzanne Treister by Battersea Power Station, Tamara Henderson at New Covent Garden Market, Miao Ying at Embassy Gardens Marketing Suite, Jeremy Deller at Prince of Wales Drive. In addition, the Art Night Open programme of local artists and galleries have projects across the Battersea area, including a screening of video works from the David Roberts Collection followed by a club night in collaboration with Lisson Gallery in Battersea Power Station Village Hall and exhibitions in Pump House Gallery and Nine Elms Pavillion. While you are exploring the art on offer, don’t miss the chance to appreciate the area itself. The Art Night map will guide you towards some of its biggest landmarks.

Image courtesy of Battersea Power Station

First, Battersea Power Station, which you can’t miss: it’s one of world’s largest brick buildings. It was designed by the architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who also designed Bankside Power Station – later Tate Modern. The two buildings are now conveniently only a boat ride away from each other. There will be a bespoke MBNA Thames Clippers service from Battersea Pier running until 4am for Art Night, so don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of the wonderful travel opportunities the river provides. Early bird tickets will be on sale from 16 June.

You’ll be able to appreciate Battersea Power Station itself with its trademark chimneys illuminated in their full glory as it serves as a backdrop for Suzanne Treister’s 80m long mural, SURVIVOR (F) + Interplanetary Dresses For Space Travel (2018), featuring watercolours from her SURVIVOR (F) project combined with images of the power station’s iconic chimneys.

Circus West Village at Battersea Power Station will be transformed into the Art Night 2018 Festival Square, hosting workshops and artist projects, as well as providing information and limited edition merchandise on the night. There will be a floristry workshop hosted by Moyses Stevens, and a print workshop taking place in The CoffeeWorks Project.

For those hungry (and not only for art), there will be special menus and late openings in many of the restaurants in Circus West Village. Dine at the local Italian Fiume, where there will be a special Art Night cocktail, stay at Mother London after your pizza for experimental music and try out Wright Brothers, the famous seafood merchants from Borough (if you are into seafood there will be another opportunity to enjoy it here with the London Seafood Festival happening later this month from 20-24 June). Not only are there many food offers, but drinks as well: try a wine flight at Vagabond, or have an espresso martini at The CoffeeWorks Project while you have a go at the printmaking workshop with Portable Print Studio.

Image courtesy of Mother Restaurant

Battersea Brewery will be running a pop up bar on the Circus Village West piazza where you can enjoy their new lager. Later, after Marinella Senatore’s London Procession, if you’re inspired to dance head to the the Village Hall at Battersea Power Station located under the arches in Circus West Village, where you’ll have a chance to experience Lisson Gallery’s club night, following the video screenings from the David Roberts Collection.

Find out more about Festival Square here. 

If you head east from Battersea Power Station, you’ll come to New Covent Garden Market.

Tamara Henderson at Flower Market. Image courtesy of the artist.

The nocturnal market is the largest wholesale market in UK and supplies numerous retailers, and it is probably the place that is most wide awake in London at 4am. Instead of its usual produce, during Art Night you will find various art installations, including Tamara Henderson’s performance Vision 3: Flowering Transition (2018). Henderson’s work from her recent Kiln Residency at CASS Sculpture foundation will feature in her performance involving eight characters derived from the life cycle of plants. Before going inside you will be able to see Anna Skladmann’s site-specific installation on the building front of the Flower Market, Ghost In The Machine. Up on the Upper Car Park in New Covent Garden Market, take part in Özge Topçu’s project Agora – in the run up to Art Night the artist will hold a series of workshops in which she will ask the participants to come up with designs for alternative public spaces. You can get involved here.

To keep you up past midnight, stop at Black Cab Coffee located at Riverlight opposite Embassy Gardens, where you can sip espresso and watch the futuristic performance SHATTERED HEARTS OF GLASS 2099 by Vasiliki Antonopoulou, Rebecca Jagoe, Mati Jhurry and Zoe Marden from 6pm–midnight.

Miao Ying, Chinternetplus, 2016. Image courtesy of the artist.

Further east down Nine Elms Lane you will find Embassy Gardens next to the new U.S. Embassy, displaying the work of Miao Ying at their Marketing Suite.  Visit the Embassy Gardens’ show apartments for Miao Ying’s VR experience, conceived as a form of ‘lifestyle hypnotism,’ responding to this years themes of ‘home’ and ‘urban landscape.’

We look forward to welcoming you to this historic yet vibrant area south of the river…

Words: Anna Kovaleva @a_n_y_a 

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Art and Technology come together at Art Night 2018

Now in its third edition, Art Night continues to support projects at the intersection of art and technology. Visitors will be invited to experience works by a variety of international artists working with new media art. Some of the highly anticipated projects include a virtual reality piece by Miao Ying entitled Happily Contained; Dwelling, an installation by Taiwanese video artist Yuan Goang Ming; and narrated digital journeys through the ShadowMemory app. These projects reflect the growing desire among contemporary artists to adapt new tools to create their work, as well as the phenomenon of cultural institutions exploring emerging new models between physical and virtual space.

New media such as virtual reality, augmented reality or digital applications allow for the creation of art inside virtual reality and digital systems, offering a new discipline at the threshold of painting, sculpture and performance. It offers early adopters an opportunity not only to make art accessible to younger, more digitally savvy visitors, but also to extend an artwork’s reach beyond its physical form to reach global audiences. The work of Art Night particularly drives such accessibility by celebrating diversity, culture, heritage and architecture of London, inviting international artists and audiences to become a part of Art Night.

This year the festival also marks a special point in some of the artist’s careers. Art Night features the first public unveiling of Random International’s new work as well as showcasing the first virtual reality work by Chinese artist Miao Ying.

Self-proclaimed ‘Resident of the Internet’, Miao Ying’s art is considered the forefront of digital innovation in art, opening new medium for understanding the concepts of ideology and value in our everyday lives. With support from EcoWorld Ballymore, her work Happily Contained, a co-commission by Art Night and dslcollection, is installed in the Marketing Suite for the Embassy Gardens development in Nine Elms. The viewer, enabled by a HTC Vive headset and MSI to experience the piece, is immersed in an alternative world, in which they are exposed to a journey in search of utopia and contemporary ideas of home. In this project the use of virtual reality with software by immersive technology agency Somewhere Else allows Ming to invite users to enter her alternative world, through which she challenges them to revisit their understanding of self.

The first public unveiling of Self and Other by London-based art group Random International was commissioned by St James (Berkeley Group) and follows the concept of self-discovery. Specifically, the project explores what human movement can reveal about identity and the relationship we have with our image. Random International, who are working with FUTURE\PACE, have been making work that questions aspects of identity and autonomy in the post-digital age and invites active participation from its audiences. Their internationally acclaimed piece Rain Room entered the collection of LACMA having been exhibited under the museum’s historic Art and Technology initiative. The work Random International will present at Art Night is an LED work which mirrors movement and will be showcased with a dance performance from Studio Wayne McGregor.

Further connections between technology and art will be made through the participation of the ShadowMemory app, presented by GRAD. The application has an innovative concept of inviting its users to experience the urban environments in different and unexpected ways. Six international artists will act as online guides, each transforming conventional transit zones into places of interest with the use of interactive geo-location technology, which will trigger online content. Through individual journeys, users will be able to explore political themes like LGBT movements and the effects of shifting human behavior on local communities, all in creative and accessible ways.

After taking a walk across the Art Night trails of the ShadowMemory app, Art Night visitors might happen upon Hayward Gallery’s al fresco screening of Yuan Goang-Ming’s video work Dwelling. Like Ying’s work, the piece centres around the cultural nuances of ‘home’, the video beginning with an ordinary-looking sitting room. However, Goang-Ming shifts away from the tranquil by introducing a climatic blast that sends objects flying in every direction, before reversing their course and returning to their original position intact. The artist depicts how unthinkable can easily invade the mundane, challenging our understanding of what safety can really mean in the digital age.

Projects unveiled at Art Night offer audiences unique experiences at the confluence of art and technology. While the full potential of new media art is yet to be explored, an underlying theme remains – the digital tools are not necessarily a replacement for traditional arts practices, but rather a parallel space and enhancement vehicle to support the creative process. They allow artists and institutions to transcend political and cultural boundaries, opening space for new developments of artistic creation.

Words: Aleksandra Artamonovskaja @aljaparis

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The 10 Best Urban Night Scenes in Film

Art Night weaves a trail of nocturnal discovery in the city for one night each year. In the spirit of staying awake past bedtime, we take a look at some of the inspirational films that have perfectly captured the mystique of the streets after the sun goes down.

Taxi Driver (1976), Dir: Martin Scorsese

In this neon visual delight of a crime drama, an insomniac taxi driver played by Robert de Niro cruises the streets of night-time New York. The fixed camera shots of the illuminated city passing by have become iconic since the film’s release in 1976.

 

Victoria (2015), Dir: Sebastian Schipper

Victoria unfolds over one night in Berlin, when four local Berliners recruit an innocent accomplice to be their getaway driver. It’s a tale of the effervescence of youth that thrives at night in the incandescent spaces of nightclubs and artificially lit streets. The film is also a cinematographic feat, shot entirely in one take over the course of a suspenseful night.

 

A Clockwork Orange (1971), Dir: Stanley Kubrick

This 1971 classic from Stanley Kubrick caused controversy on its release, centering around a gang of delinquents who cause trouble under the cover of darkness in a dystopian near-future Britain. The ominous scenes, like the one pictured above, shot in an underpass below Wandsworth Bridge in London, play with light and shadow to a visually menacing effect.

 

Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Dir: Denis Villeneuve

Continuing in the dystopian vein, Blade Runner 2049 is an American neo-noir science fiction film awash with vibrant neon hues. Set thirty years after the first Blade Runner film, it takes place in a dystopian Los Angeles where a secret threatens to instigate a war.  

 

Daphne (2017), Dir: Peter Mackie Burns

Shot in Art Night 2018 territory, south of the river, we couldn’t leave Daphne off our list. We follow the film’s namesake, the fiery Daphne, in her often dysfunctional life. The film’s mesmerizing use of bird’s-eye-view camera shots capture the bustling vibrancy of London after dark and the inevitable loneliness that comes with living in a big city.

 

All These Sleepless Nights (2016), Dir: Michal Marczak

Somewhere between exhaustion-induced hysteria and dreaming comes Michal Marczak’s All These Sleepless Nights. A fiction/documentary hybrid, the lives of three young people in Warsaw become entangled in endless nights spent roaming the streets and seeking encounters from one party to the next. The night is a time of hedonistic abandon in Marczak’s portrayal. 

 

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014), Dir: Ana Lily Amirpour

This black and white thriller, the first feature film from Ana Lily Amirpour, takes place in the Iranian ghost-town ‘Bad City’. Breathtakingly haunting wide-angled shots reveal a worn-down city where men who disrespect women are hunted by a skateboarding vampire who rules the night.

 

You Were Never Really Here (2017), Dir: Lynne Ramsay

A beautifully brutal film, New York after dark has never been so striking as in You Were Never Really Here. The film tells the story of a killer’s quest for redemption against the backdrop of the nocturnal city.

 

2046 (2004), Dir: Wong Kar-wai

Wong Kar-wai’s fantastical depiction of a futuristic Hong Kong centres on a science fiction writer. The film is a sensual overload of imagery that depicts the writer’s ability to blur fiction, reality, past and future.

 

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), Dir: Jim Jarmusch

Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive is a vampire love story with crisp night time scenes, the stillness of which sends shivers down one’s spine. Most striking are the scenes shot in Tangier, Morocco where not even the warmer climate can break the ice of this cool couple who walk the cobbled and dimly lit alleys alone, pondering their place in modern society.  

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