David Blandy’s mesmerising installation of revolving imagery on spinning HD screens accompanied by narrated verse will have you rethinking what makes a city – particularly our fair capital. As the third exhibition in Bloomberg Space’s ‘The Homecoming’ series, which explores ‘the history and architecture of the City of London’, Blandy’s new commission considers the powers that have enabled the Square Mile to thrive, from its days as an outpost of the Roman Empire to being today’s global financial district.
Dark, loud and flashy, like most of the City, Blandy’s installation bombards you with a near hallucinatory experience. The artist’s voice chants a rap that traverses beat poetry, the writings of Thomas More and contemporary street slang, while overlaid imagery including ancient sites, shipping containers, car production lots and a twinkling vista of London at night pulsates across screens. These are framed by one-word headlines like: civilisation, humanity, knowledge, economics and mythos.
Using the Roman mythology of Hercules and Bloomberg’s archival footage of global financial news, Blandy remaps the adventures of London through vignettes that are part dream and part reality. He envisages London as diverse, dynamic, imperfect and idealist; let’s call it a pop-topian view. It is, he suggests, not just the movers and shakers or the underground scenes but also the resilience, adaptability and industriousness of the city that keep it booming. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.