Tate Modern presents Up Hill Down Hall: An Indoor Carnival
On Saturday 23 August, coinciding with the Notting Hill Carnival, Tate Modern will present Up Hill Down Hall: An Indoor Carnival, a new performance commission that offers critical and artistic perspectives on Carnival. Up Hill Down Hall continues Tate’s innovative performance programme BMW Tate Live.
Informed by the history of the Notting Hill Carnival, contemporary artists Hew Locke and Marlon Griffith will use Carnival to reflect on ideas of public space, performance, and participation in performances set within an architectural design by Gia Wolff and a soundscape by Dubmorphology (Gary Stewart and Trevor Mathison). Up Hill Down Hall will consider Carnival as three interrelated elements, as performance art, a festival of otherness and a ritual of resistance.
London-based contemporary artist Hew Locke will create his first performance work, Give and Take, an exploration of the changing spatial politics of the Notting Hill neighborhood. The work both critiques the gentrification of the area and embraces the new cultural influences on this historically pan-Caribbean festival. Give and Take is realised in collaboration with the Batala Samba-Reggae band.
Trinidad-born, Japan-based visual artist and Carnival designer – or in colloquial Trinidadian, masman – Marlon Griffith will present No Black in the Union Jack, a piece inspired by the 2011 London summer riots. Produced in collaboration with Elimu Paddington Arts Mas Band, it fuses the nationalistic Caribbean motif of the humming bird with anti-riot police shields in body adornments that blur the boundaries between masquerader and police officer.
New York-based architectural designer Gia Wolff will transform the Turbine Hall into a carnival space reminiscent of Oscar Niemeyer’s carnival stadium in Rio de Janeiro, the world-famous Sambadrome with Canopy, an installation stretching the length of the Turbine Hall. Canopy features custom-made red ropes hung above and under the Turbine Hall bridge and responds to the Turbine Hall as one of London’s most iconic indoor public spaces.
London-based sound artists Dubmorphology will remix steel pan, calypso, reggae and punk tracks with texts relating to Notting Hill from Linton Kwesi Johnson to Zadie Smith, and elements from Gary Stewart’s ongoing oral history archive of the Notting Hill Carnival. The live mix, entitled Sonar, will be played through a customised sound system on the bridge that crosses the Turbine Hall, alluding to sound system set ups under the Westway Bridge during Notting Hill Carnival.
Up Hill Down Hall: An Indoor Carnival is curated by Claire Tancons as part of Tate’s ongoing performance programme BMW Tate Live. The programme frequently incorporates performances that explore the boundaries of contemporary art as they meet with genres such as dance, theatre, animation, film, music, and now Carnival. BMW Tate Live is curated by Catherine Wood, Curator, Contemporary Art and Performance, Tate and Capucine Perrot, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern.