David Blandy is a man obsessed with popular culture. His work explores the ability that his interests and chosen aspects of counter culture have had to develop, shape and influence his existence as a human being. The idea that ones passions and fascination can completely define a person no matter how alien they are to that persons origins.
2013’s ‘Biter’ sees Blandy recycling lyrics from Wu Tang’s cream, in Austria’s Freud Museum, exploring the ideas of authenticity. Is the experience of the rap obsessed, English, middle class white boy credible or is there a level of absurdity to being so dedicated to something so different from one’s immediate reality? Are the lines of reality and fantasy blurred by being so influenced by the unfamiliar?
His film ‘Enter The Barefoot Pilgrim’, from 2007, also delves into the artist’s obsession with afro american music as well as 70s kung fu films. Blandy embarks on a cultural pilgrimage armed with only a record player, Kung Fu suite and a soul stick; all to the soundtrack of James Brown’s ‘Mind power’.
As he’s developed as an artists his work has matured but still maintained the endearing level of humor and geekyness. His later, perhaps more sophisticated, films explore his interest in Eastern counter culture, Specifically early japanese video games and anime. 2013’s ‘Backgrounds’ is an affecting animation made in the style of an early 16bit video game. The film documents a conversation between Blandy and his father comparing both of their lives, as artists, and the sacrifices that they have both made.
‘Hercules : Rough Cut’ is the latest part of ‘The Homecoming’ series, a program of four projects by four artists at London’s Bloomberg Space. Blandy’s immersive installation consists of four revolving monitors leading towards a large projection screen; all chaotically bombarding the viewer with video compiled and edited from Bloomberg’s archive of global financial news footage. Blandy’s voice booms, over the imagery, reciting his own rap lyrics in a monotone, well spoken, english accent. The poetry throws out instantly recognisable references to the Wu Tang Clan and Beat poetry as the pace of the words and the disorientating imagery enthrall the viewer into an almost hypnotic state.
The narrative is one which also blurs the lines between truth and fantasy. The lyrics and the footage are used to create a virtual reality – a place where the familiarity and certainty are contorted in to something recognisable but still unnervingly disparate. The beauty of Blandy’s work is that it is uninhibited escapism. It’s an insight in to place where fantasy has become the dominant force fueled by an amalgamation of borrowed and rearranged realities.
‘Hercules : Rough Cut’ is on until the 19th of September at Bloomberg Space and you can check out David Blandy’s website HERE