A 3 channel HD video and 4 channel audio installation commissioned by New Art Exchange, Nottingham, with an accompanying single channel HD video piece.
Not Necessarily in the Right Order is a video installation that responds to the UK’s diverse multi-cultural demographic, exploring the social significance of ‘carnival’ and ‘festival’ as one of the few public opportunities to celebrate cultural diversity. Using these observations as a starting point, the work evolved to become an exploration of what it means to be British in the 21st century.
The work explores the relationship between identity and a sense of place, borrowing conventions from science-fiction (and science-fiction based musical alter-egos) to foreground issues of belonging and exclusion. The work plays with different narrative voices, musical styles and subject positions in order to disrupt familiar assumptions of identification.
Extract from Grant Pooke's introduction to Not Necessarily...
Imaging Carnival, Translating Diaspora, 20013.
Through what words were you born?
In what sentence were you raised?
Is this your story?
Who are you? Show your face.
Remove the mask.
(Extract from Not Necessarily in the Right Order)
The UK is a nation of émigrés. To be British is to be from somewhere else. The hybridisation and translation of cultures define Carnival, Mela or the Goose Fair. It defines anywhere.
The collective, Common Culture, situate this demotic melding of cultural translation in their site-responsive, three-screen video and sound installation commission, Not Necessarily in the Right Order. An opening, melodic incantation, delivered in Farsi, segues into a mélange of musical styles and colliding audio. The Rwandan-born Scottish actor, Ncuti Gatwa, in futuristic garb, and speaking in distinct accents – West African, Caribbean and Received Pronunciation – engages the viewer in a sharply observed and incisive deconstruction of Carnival’s cultural politics.
...Not Necessarily in the Right Order, deploys a richly subversive dialectic, orchestrating references to the filmic French avant-garde via a legacy of 70s’ British comedic culture. But it cuts to as authentic a ‘truth’ as is possible within late modernity: that all cultural identities are inherently unstable, performative, dislocated – and hybrid.
Through the iconography of science fiction and other disjunctures, Common Culture recognise a position as ‘outsiders’ to the communities represented through Mela and Carnival. But in doing so, they authentically and reflexively image – in speech and music – diasporic and previously subaltern identities, gauging an authentic register of what it means to be truly British in a new millennium.