Friday, April 27, 2007

London Heart Beat

Annika Eriksson’s film at the Cubitt Gallery shows a lone drummer at his kit, under railway bridges and adjacent to a large road junction he makes the city his stage. In this typical backdrop of London’s urban fabric the drummer plays varying percussive elements as trains rumble overhead, road traffic moves past and a varying assortment of people walk by. In the adjacent light box sculpture Eriksson’s photos detail many potential open air stages defined by street furniture and a differing selection of small elements of the built environment, in the accompanying film the final stage for the drummers performance is the defined space of this intersection with its rushing and roaring movements and sounds of London.

We can speculate on the drummer’s environment and his place within it. At one and the same time this lonely but active figure remains untouched by interaction with his fellow city dwellers, there is no crowd to observe this performance except the occasional glance of a passer by, he is a man in search of accompaniment and audience. The camera gazes on as his performance unfolds and as he remains seemingly unwatched we can only guess at the hidden other eyes that may be observing this lone figure. How long can he continue either through his own will or through the will of others? The actions of the city around him isolate him as the noise and movement pass him, in a rush to and from our own destinations we all seek our own stage no matter how large or small the audience.

London absorbs us all into its mass, this unique player is as we are, one amongst many. In this small part of the vast urban sprawl of London that he has claimed for his performance he creates his own beat and like the millions creating their own beat and rhythm in our city he is both a part of the city and apart from it.

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