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Introducing Scat: Sound and Collaboration

Artist Sonia Boyce introduces the exhibition Scat: Sound and Collaboration which runs until 27 July 2013 at Iniva.

Scat presents two immersive video works for the first time with The Devotional Collection, Boyce’s archive and collective memorialisation of black British women in the music industry. As a result, the exhibition places a spotlight on her interest in the archive as arts practice. ‘Just the very act of putting something in an archive suggests its future use is beyond the control of the past. But we don’t have to settle for the past as it is presented. The past is not fixed’.

Visit www.iniva.org to find out more.

Scenes from the Class Struggle in Portugal

 The Militant Image, Scenes from the Class Struggle in Portugal – by Tara Brown
Art is great – it can serve you with underwhelming and overpowering emotions. It can also help you notice and challenge perceptions that you may have never thought about. I’ve had one of those rare moments; a moment where I’ve learnt about something I’ve known absolutely nothing about. Before Tuesday 29 November, I did not know that Portugal had had a fascist military state, let alone that the people of Portugal had started a revolution of their own from 1974 that lasted for around two years. It’s been called the last revolution in Europe, and American filmmaker Robert Kramer may have realised this in his decision to produce Scenes from the Class Struggle in Portugal, released in 1977. Themes that often crop up in Iniva’s programmes are explored in the film, such as economics, human rights, and politics.

Watching the film with its fantastic Portuguese music in the background, I got to see the daily struggle of the people as they stormed the streets, reclaiming and occupying public spaces as citizens and united workers. They occupied schools, factories, and public spaces, working together as a team. With the term ‘occupy’ so prevalent this year, I wonder how many people camping in the cold and hostile streets all over the globe realise that the working heroes from Portugal had succeeded in bringing democracy to the country through this ethos?

The Marxist politics in this film are loud and undeniable. The narrative places the workers as an homogeneous mass against the bourgeois, who are never really represented in the film. There is no subjectivity within the film either – in the final notes at the end of the picture, a card has blood dripping into its message, a very unsubtle metaphor.

One of the most interesting aspects of the film was its physical quality. The curators  for this programme, Kodwo Eshun and Ros Gray, had chosen films that were unseen and hard to find. The picture is full of spots and the aesthetics are rough and overexposed – at one point, there is an interview with a soldier, whose face has been obscured to a white mask from the quality of the film. With its style and narration, militant cinema is a genre all its own and the programme at Iniva has hopefully presented its audience with new knowledge and perspectives.

*The programme has come from the publication of a special Third Text journal ‘Militant Cinema: A Cine-Geography’.Find out more about The Militant Image programme

Tara Brown is an Inivator, a member of Iniva’s Youth Advisory Board and is also currently an Education Apprentice at Whitechapel Gallery.

Art & Economies: Social Archive One

What’s happening in our local community? We found out in Social Archive One



As part of our Art & Economies project, we wanted to focus on our local community. Invia is located in London’s East End in Shoreditch, an area that has seen immigrant groups moving to the area historically. Artists moved in for the cheap rents and this evolved to government introduced regeneration and now the area is well on its way to total gentrification. We invited members of the public and artist Shiraz Bayjoo to become social historians to document local histories and sentiments about the changing economies of the local area on film.

We found a group of leather makers who have been in the area since 1972 to a woman whose family have operated a tea stand since 1919.  Will either of these two firmly established business survive the influx of high end shops to the local area? 

Watch: www.youtube.com/user/InivaArts or www.socialarchiveone.com

Discovering Shoreditch past and present through film

Inivator Tara Brown explores Shoreditch with the Social Archive One filmmaking project

As someone born and raised in North West London, only moving to the ‘far east’ last summer, Shoreditch first appeared to me as if fully grown and always hipster. And so getting an opportunity to take part in creating a social archive – an economic map of this dynamic area – was definitely of interest to me.

I attended the second workshop on the first day with two other women in the group. After a quick introduction we went off on a flash history tour of Shoreditch and learnt about its transformation from a green and pleasant land to industrial overcrowding, destruction by WWII bombing to the trendy playground it’s become today. The tour was great, if only to orientate myself better. I’m so used to going in one straight line via Rivington Place to Hoxton / Dalston when actually Shoreditch is full of allyways, nooks and crannies to explore.

Back at Rivington Place we were introduced to artist Shiraz Bayjoo who gave us a quick lesson in using technical equipment and we were off, looking for businesses to interview and document. In independent hand bag shops, art galleries and places with no names at all, just addresses we met a variety of people and asked them about their business and the economics of Shoreditch.

Economics is a funny word; it seems to demand expertise and academic excellence on the subject, but in reality affects all of us so strongly we’ve got a view on it. This made all of our subjects shy, but with a bit of pressing we managed to get a sample of their struggles and successes. After a nervous start we all had a turn asking questions and had a rapport with everyone we met. We had our own struggles with the equipment as well – I was a bit rubbish on the camera and the battery ran out part way through the last interview. They were all fantastic and I hope we did them justice… They might even come to the screening – that would be absolutely brilliant.

I left leaving the workshop wanting to have a proper wander around the area, resting in Arnold Circus, site of the world’s first social housing structure, watching reliant robins whizz past by artisan bakers and jewellers. I had seen a new side to the town, a new sense of reality and true grit next to the shiny glass mountain range that is the City. I hope it stays that way, but it’s not Shoreditch’s style – I’ll just have to go along with it she decides to do next.

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Films created as part of Social Archive One: An Economic Forecdast (Shoreditch) will be exhibited at Rivington Place from 19 – 23 July, as well as online. There is a screening party on the evening of 21 July from 6:30 – 9pm, all welcome.

Tara Brown is one of the Inivators, a group of young creatives who work with Iniva’s Education Curator and professional artists to create exhibitions and events in response to Iniva’s main programme. Find out more about the Inivators programme here.