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Nine Nights: Channel B review

Art ICA , The Mall Until Sunday January 30 2022
3 out of 5 stars
Nine Nights at the ICA. Photo by Anne Tetzlaff.
Nine Nights at the ICA. Photo by Anne Tetzlaff.

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

This exhibition was built to be performed in. Black art and sound collective Nine Nights - made up of members GLOR1A, Gaika and Shannen SP - have created Channel B as a series of stages from which to broadcast their ideas of black futurism and aesthetics. It’s a great, powerful concept, but when there are no performers there to ‘activate’ the spaces, does it work as an exhibition? Well, sometimes yes, but often no. 

It starts with Nine Nights’ videos of DJ sets and performances streamed online during lockdown, before you enter a series of sculptural spaces designed to be performed in, all filled with futuristic columns and flashing screens. Upstairs you find a big stage set, bathed in orange light. The events - essentially gigs - happen occasionally throughout the show’s duration, but most of the time the gallery is just a gallery, and walking around it feels like you’ve shown up at a party way too early, or long after everyone’s already gone home.

The best works from an exhibition perspective are GLOR1A’s excellent video sci fi manifesto for a black future and ‘Zen Projects’, a collection of films attacking the wellness industry that you watch from massage chairs. They’re clever, intense, interesting works made to be experienced as standalone pieces of art. 

There are events happening on October 28, December 17, and January 17 and 28. That’s when this show will feel alive and vital. But for now, it feels very much like an empty stage set that's waiting to be filled.


Venue name: ICA
Venue website:
Venue phone: 020 7930 3647
Address: The Mall
Transport: Tube: Charing Cross

Dates And Times

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