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Larry Achiampong and David Blandy on EVA's Open Call

Monday 5th December, 2016

Larry and David, through the 2016 open call, proposed their work Finding Fanon which was selected by Koyo Kouoh for 'Still (the) Barbarians'.

Two of the most unassuming and exciting artists of EVA 2016, Larry Achiampong and David Blandy are having a year of major achievements. Earlier this year, Larry had a solo show in Chicago and has been selected for the first Diaspora Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Together they launch Finding Fanon 3 at Tate Modern, Tuesday 6 December. The film and live performance are a follow up to the two films they presented at #EVA16: Finding Fanon 1 and Finding Fanon 2.

With the Finding Fanon trilogy, Larry and David address the post-colonial condition taking inspiration from their own heritage, Grand Theft Auto and the lost plays of Frantz Fanon, a writer best known for Black Skin, White Masks, which unpacks the psychology of the racism and dehumanisation experienced in the African colonial project. The trilogy considers Fanon’s ideas in an age of simulated realities, pop culture and globalisation.

Finding Fanon 3: Prologue Preview from David Blandy on Vimeo

They responded to Koyo Kouoh’s call for proposals back in 2015 and were selected to exhibit alongside 55 other artists in ‘Still (the) Barbarians’. Their work was situated in Cleeve’s Condensed Milk Factory and acted as an introduction to the site and, in a way, to the broader theme of the exhibition; post-colonialism and its lingering effects today in psychology, architecture and language. They came to Ireland to perform Media Minerals at our symposium in July and they were two of the most down to earth and easy-going people to work with (Larry just about making it on time after a Ryanair flight!). We caught up with the pair to see what they’re at now and how they found the open call process.

EVA: Tell us what you have been working on since we saw you last.

David: We've been busy continuing the series that featured at EVA, getting Finding Fanon 3 Prologue ready for [the Tate] performance on 6 December. Part of that work developed during the last 2 months on a residency at Wysing Arts Centre, and we had a chance to screen the first two films in Chicago at Stoney Island Arts Bank to compliment Larry's solo show at Logan Arts Centre.
Larry: I have also been selected for the first Diaspora Pavillion at the Venice Beinnale, so we have a lot of stuff coming up. We have both been working on some new ideas that we hope to explore further in 2017.

EVA: Why did you apply for EVA16 the open call?

Larry: The open call (and a few others at the time) focused on themes that we felt were the right fit for what we were producing at the time. We always divide the responsibilities for what we apply for, but we read over the material that we each produce.
David: We saw the open call advertised on social media, and the theme seemed to resonate with what we were working on, so we applied. 
Larry: I also received a few emails from peers who agreed that it could be a great opportunity to go for.

EVA: Do you apply for many open calls?

Larry: It really depends – if the framework of the open call fits with what I am producing or David and myself, then I will look at what is possible and what potentials can be reached. I think you have to be smart about these things as well, there is no point applying for everything, but more importantly, I go through my own process of 'forgetting' the thing that I have applied for. You have to move on, because if you do not get selected, the world will still be turning.

EVA: What was the benefit to you two of being a part of EVA? Did it result in any other opportunities?

David: Being in EVA was a great experience, not only getting to show alongside so many interesting artists, but also seeing our own work in that context. Seeing your own work in such a large survey helps you to see it with fresh eyes again. Being a part of EVA has definitely led to an increased interest in our work, with approaches from curators, institutions and other biennials. 
Larry: It also has been great to be part of such a strong show overall. Koyo Kouoh did a fantastic job of exploring the nuances that the selected artists had to offer in relation to colonial legacies.

The online application process is now open and closes at 5pm (GMT) on Tuesday 31 January 2017. To apply to the Open Call please click here.


Image: ‘Finding Fanon 1' (2015), UHD digital video, 15 min. 22 sec. Photo: Claire Barrett. Courtesy the artists.





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