International video art is celebrated in an exhibition at Birmingham Hippodrome and across the city this November. About Town is presented in partnership with Ikon and showcases a wide variety of free night-screenings by artists from the UK and abroad, in unique urban spaces. Running 13-16 November, the event combines new commissions and pieces from the Ikon’s recent programme.
The new works are inspired by the location within which they are placed and they explore everyday life in the city, reflecting on how society shapes and is shaped by surroundings. About Town invites audiences to take short walks through the city streets, brimming with local interest, to absorb a varied artistic experiences. With activities taking place in a range of public spaces, visitors can also find art in The Gallan Car Park as well as the Birmingham Hippodrome itself.
Large scale installations take over The Gallan Car Park, Hurst Street, to transform it into a vast indoor landscape of moving imagery and ambient sound. Beat Streuli’s New Street (2013) displays projected sequences of photographic stills across three large screens, reflecting the summer atmosphere of Birmingham’s streets. Gillian Wearing’s Broad Street (2000) focuses its attention on Birmingham’s frenetic night-life. Meanwhile, Oliver Beer’s film Pay and Display (2011) documents his collaboration with the city’s Ex Cathedra choir to create an experimental music video shot in a stairwell in the Pershore Street Carpark.
The Birmingham Hippodrome plays host to a number of works in its foyer areas, on staircases and landings. Adel Abdessemed’s Happiness in Mitte (2003) follows stray cats drinking, one by one, from bowls of milk left by the artist outdoors in Berlin’s Mitte district. In Hiccup #2 (2006) Canadian artist Kelly Mark documents a five day performance on the steps of the old Birmingham Library, repeating the same routine of simple actions while other people, undirected by her, are busy being otherwise occupied.
There is also an important new commission, by emerging local artist Dean Kelland who has produced a work that is based on 1970s British sitcoms. Other films to be shown include Marjolijn Dijkman’s Wandering Through the Future (2007), a montage of film clips, and Cornelia Parker’s Chomskian Abstract (2007), both speculating on the nature of the end of the world as we know it. Nightingale (2003), by Birmingham-born Grace Ndiritu, explores racial stereotyping. Numerous other works are visible from the street, including Junebum Park’s Parking (2002) and Vladimir Logutov’s Twilight (2005), and Heather and Ivan Morison’s Colours and Sounds in Ivan Morison’s Garden (2002).
About Town, 13-16 November, across Birmingham and at the Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst St, Southside, Birmingham, B5 4TB.
1. Junebum Park’s Parking (2002).