For one night only, Whitechapel Gallery and a number of nearby spaces in East London will be transformed by new installations, films, live performances, music and culinary experiences for the third edition of Nocturnal Creatures. The festival’s curators, Emily Butler, Wells Fray-Smith and Inês Costa, tell Something Curated: “We’re thrilled that Nocturnal Creatures, Whitechapel Gallery’s late-night summer festival across the East End, will take place on 17 July. Everyone is welcome to enjoy a balmy summer evening experiencing installations, films, live performances, music and food – all in real life. The project aims to engage with new audiences through unique experiences and installations in nearby historic and surprising spaces. This year we are also planning several outdoor installations to ensure a safe festival experience for all.”
The organisers continue: “This year 16 artists’ commissions are being launched on the night in collaboration with Artsadmin and Sculpture in the City, an ambitious feat in Covid times. The Whitechapel Gallery is working closely with 6 emerging London-based artists, selected through our London Open 2022 exhibition open call process, whose work we felt was incredibly timely. As we’re all craving a bit of cultural healing, we chose work that is both sensory and stimulating, whilst also reflecting on important socio-political questions that were raised during the Covid pandemic. After months of confinement, visitors will be invited to awaken their senses for this one night only festival, which is the first major public project for many of the artists involved. Get ready to experience lots of new work – we can’t wait to share it with everyone!”
Among the festival’s highlights, become immersed in the hypnotic twisting and knotting movements of dancers in Candida Powell-Williams’ performance, set in the open spaces of Aldgate Square. Movement and sound by performers on screen and in real-life feature in Nicole Bachmann’s work, which explores connectedness and alternative forms of communication in Toynbee Hall’s historic Lecture Hall. Through video, live music and spoken word at Whitechapel Gallery, Sierra Leonean artist Julianknxx examines how the act of breathing is politically and socially charged in 2021, calling for new structures and realities for Black people to breathe, freely.
Reflecting on the housing crisis and precarious working conditions, Paula Morison sews a 1:1 scale map of a flat for the length of time it would take to buy a space of that size whilst earning London Living Wage. Portuguese artist Inês Neto dos Santos explores how we can live in greater connection with our surroundings and others through a bean-growing network, a food offer with the Gallery’s Townsend Restaurant and a bean-themed bar with views over East London. Meanwhile, Abbas Zahedi proposes a social space for the local community where audiences will be invited to reflect on the potential future use of the old Brick Lane Police Station and the surrounding area.
Nocturnal Creatures, 17 July 2021, 6– 11pm at Whitechapel Gallery and local locations (Free entry)
Feature image: Julianknxx, Black Corporeal (Between this Air) Untitled 3. Courtesy of the artist. © Studioknxx. Commissioned by WePresent, the digital arts platform of WeTransfer