On Saturday 23 August, coinciding with the Notting Hill Carnival, Tate Modern presented Up Hill Down Hall: An indoor carnival. Informed by the history of the Notting Hill Carnival, Up Hill Down Hall showcased performances by artists Hew Locke and Marlon Griffith against the backdrop of an architectural design by Gia Wolff and a soundscape by Dubmorphology (Gary Stewart and Trevor Mathison).
Up Hill Down Hall. An Indoor Carnival. Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London, August 23, 2014.
Excerpts from the press text:
￼￼￼Initiated after curator Claire Tancons’ longstanding engagement with Carnival across art history, performance theory, postcolonial studies and curatorial practice, Up Hill Down Hall engages with Carnival as ritual of resistance, festival of otherness and performance art, and with the Notting Hill Carnival specifically as a contested site from which to reflect on notions of public space, performance and participation. It conceives of Carnival less as a theme than a medium and indeed introduces practitioners across disciplines who draw from Carnival as a medium of artistic production and a form of social and political address.
London-based artist Hew Locke creates his first performance work, Give and Take, an exploration of the changing spatial politics of the Notting Hill neighbourhood. Give and Take both critiques the gentrification of the area and embraces the Brazilian influence on this historically pan-Caribbean festival.
Trinidad-born, Japan-based visual artist Marlon Griffith presents No Black in the Union Jack, a performance inspired by the 2011London summer riots.
London-based sound artists Dubmorphology remixes live and recorded tracks of steel pan and calypso, reggae and punk with texts relating to the Notting Hill Carnival from Linton Kwesi Johnson to Zadie Smith, and elements from Gary Stewart’s ongoing oral history archive of the Notting Hill Carnival.
Using Oscar Niemeyer’s carnival stadium in Rio de Janeiro, the world-famous Sambadrome, as reference, New York-based architectural designer Gia Wolff transforms Herzog & DeMeuron’s architectural space of the Turbine Hall into a carnival space with Canopy.
Dubmorphology is a London based interdisciplinary artist and research group formed by Gary Stewart and Trevor Mathison.
Marlon Griffith began his artistic practice as a Carnival designer—a “mas’ man,” as Trinidadians would call him.
Hew Locke is an artist who explores the subject of power, particularly through the representation of royal portraiture, coats-of-arms, public statuary, trophies, weaponry and costume.
Claire Tancons is a curator, writer and scholar based in New Orleanswhose work focuses on Carnival, public ceremonial culture, civic rituals and popular movements.
Gia Wolff is an architectural designer who is interested in architecture that embodies a reciprocal relationship between the user and the built environment and questions the performative aspects of the discipline.