Nine Nights: Channel B

The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, United Kingdom
12 Oct 2021 - 30 Jan 2021

Nine Nights: Channel B

As night falls on 12th October a rogue frequency is transmitted from London’s Mall. This frequency sits below popular channels, infecting smart devices with bursts of encrypted data with no beginning and no end. Offering an alternative to algorithmic censorship and cultural extraction. Beyond notions of history, place and time.
– Nine Nights

Channel B is an audio-visual exploration of black futurism by the black-owned art, music, and creative education initiative Nine Nights. The exhibition features sound and video installations by founding artists Gaika, GLOR1A and Shannen SP, alongside invited guests.

In response to the persistent undervaluing of Black people, the growing protest movement, and the global pandemic’s impact on nightlife and live music work, Nine Nights emerged in May 2020 as an attempt to explore new modes of artistic empowerment. The work of these exhibiting artists is rooted in the electronically mutated rhythms of the diaspora that pulse through every city, every night. Drawing on a lineage of pirate broadcasters, subterranean dance floors and the ‘happenings’ of the 1960s, Channel B is nostalgic for an unknown past but committed to the imaginaries of a future.

Addressing sci-fi, speculative fiction, horror, political satire and experimental sound, Channel B acts as an archive of Black subculture. This exhibition considers the contemporary role of surveillance, digital autonomy, non-human intelligence, and digitised human ritual, asking the viewer to reimagine the future.

The exhibition comprises six installations and is divided into six channels. Committed to experimental methods of exhibition-making, Nine Nights invites artists and audiences to interact with each of the channels, activating the installations with performance and inviting audiences to use the ICA’s galleries as a participatory space. The installations will be activated through a programme of events inviting musicians and performers to contribute to the exhibition with one-off interventions between October 2021 and January 2022.

“We are building an ecosystem that educates, platforms and promotes alternative Black art and supports Black-focused charities at home and overseas. The global music industry is worth over $50 billion, with 50% of that made from live music. The global pandemic has caused a crisis for all live artists and teams, wiping out a majority of income overnight. For 2019, total revenue for the global recorded music business grew by 8.2% to $20.2 billion. As Black artists, we provide much of the foundation for modern music with our labour. Currently, we are not seeing our share of this money.

Nine Nights is a new music concept featuring thoughtfully curated Black artists across the world, spanning music, performance, poetry and spoken word. The name ‘Nine Nights’ is rooted in Jamaican tradition that celebrates the life and safe passing for those deceased over nine nights. This ‘dead yard’ series is for those who have lost their lives at the hands of racism, police brutality and COVID, to celebrate their existence, and push for change. We want a new system, one that helps develop Black lives in music, art and community.” – Nine Nights

The inherent contradictions and systematic inequality at the heart of the global music industry frequently results in Black artists sustaining its ecosystem yet consistently being undermined by it. Combined with the persistent undervaluing of Black people, the growing protest movement and the global pandemic’s impact on nightlife and live work, Nine Nights emerged in May 2020 as an attempt at exploring new modes of artistic empowerment that supports life and community directly with labour. Founded by Channel B exhibiting artists and Zara Truss-Giles, Nine Nights has one purpose – to support Black culture.

Gaika Tavares, better known simply as Gaika, is a critically acclaimed auteur from South London whose debut album Basic Volume was released in July 2018 by Warp Records. The Guardian praised the album as ‘a terrifically impressive and populist debut’, with additional praise from The Financial Times, The Independent, Noisey and Music OMH. Gaika has worked on numerous scores for film and TV, including the BBC’s Noughts + Crosses in 2020; produced a score for contemporary dancers Aisha and Abhaya in 2020; and produced the lead track for the Sundance Film Festival-nominated films Share and Sprinter in 2019. He has participated in group exhibitions at Pace Gallery and Strange Edition Gallery, both in New York. He writes fiction and is a frequent writer for Dazed.

GLOR1A is a boundary-defying artist exploring Black futurism and sci-fi through emotive music, technological art and live performances. The self-proclaimed ‘alien’ is non-conformist in approach, taking inspiration from ancestral myth and sci-fi, challenging the underrepresentation of Black femmes in cultural spaces. In 2021 she released her second EP METAL, introducing GLOR1A’s alter ego, GLOR1A 2.0 – the creation of a Black gynoid using a data-mining company to autonomously collect facial recognition data worldwide. GLOR1A’s work seamlessly operates in a multitude of spaces and she recently developed SWARM, a first-of-its-kind live performance game steeped in West African Nok culture. She has recently exhibited at The Rele Gallery, Lagos, and Somerset House × MUTEK, London, and in 2022 will exhibit at FACT, Liverpool.

Shannen SP is a London-based DJ, artist and curator. She made a name for herself through her work with UK label Hyperdub and her co-curation of the audio-visual arts and electronic music monthly event Ø. She has played sets at WWW Tokyo, Nyege Nyege Uganda, Nowadays NYC and Boiler Room, as well as provided compilations for Discwoman and DJ Mag alongside her NTS Radio residency. Shannen SP has gone on to provide A&R for NTS’s in-house label, having curated the widely celebrated Amapiano Now compilation. As a vocalist, she has featured on Nazar’s album and EP releases with Hyperdub.




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