The Jungle is the first of a series of immersive works by artist Noam Toran which draw from the traditions of political theatre and performing arts from the first half of the 20th century.
From the Soviet Proletkult, to the agitprops of pre-war Europe, through to the socialist, anarchist, and union-run troupes in the Americas and European colonies, the works reveal how cultural production, through the coalescing of fictional and factual material, has served to inform working-class political consciousness.
The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art is delighted to host Toran’s first adaptation, a satirical, carnivalesque production of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, the classic ‘muckraking’ exposé on the dehumanising labour practices of the Chicago meat-packing industry, written in 1906. Sinclair’s novel is re-staged as a collection of performative objects which echo the artistic and political energies of the early 1900’s –a period of intense agitation, of extreme ideologies, of totalitarianism, but also of progressive legislation, of political pluralism and of grass-root actions. In short, a period eerily like our own.
The collection of costumes, masks, props and historical materials are intended to be used, activated and imaginatively appropriated by the visiting public. Following the opening night performance by celebrated choreographer Julie Cunningham, the remaining programme for the exhibition has been given over to the students of the college, so that they may exercise their own artistic and political voices within the thematic framework of the project.
The work is made in collaboration with Alexa Pollmann and Nick Williamson, and through the grateful support of Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, and Siobhan Davies Dance in London.
Join us at the preview evening and artist talk on Wednesday 26 April, 5 - 7:30pm with free refreshments and a first look at the exhibition.
Can't make the opening? Don't worry the show runs until Wednesday 31 May 2017.
5 - 6pm – Artist talk by Noam Toran, with Alexa Pollmann and Nick Williamson
To launch the opening of The Jungle, Noam Toran will be joined by Alexa Pollmann and Nick Williamson to talk about the exhibition and their collaborative process.
(Please note the talk has a capacity of 120 spaces and will be allocated on a first come first served basis, please arrive early to avoid disappointment.)
6 - 7.30pm – Preview evening & inaugural performance by Julie Cunningham
Noam Toran has invited award-winning dancer and choreographer Julie Cunningham to develop a short performance in response to The Jungle. Julie Cunningham will be performing this one-off piece as part of the preview evening.
(The performance will be standing only, and will last approximately 20 minutes and take place during the exhibition opening.)
Noam Toran’s work involves the creation of intricate narratives developed as a means to reflect upon the interrelations of history, memory, and storytelling as embodied in cinematic and literary forms. Research based, the works examine how fictions influence the collective consciousness, and are realised through an original way of reconfiguring narrative codes, conventions and structures, and weaving them with historical materials. His work is exhibited, screened and published internationally, and is part of numerous public collections.
Originally a fashion designer, Alexa leads the Wearable Futures MA at Ravensbourne College and holds a Master in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art, where she started her future-research in form of speculative design probes. Alexa is a founding member of the design platform Peut-Porter.
Nick Williamson is a designer and engineer with degrees in both disciplines. His work focuses on the integration of industrial design, technology and the mechanical. Nick also collaborates with and implements the ideas of world renowned designers, artists and architects for major exhibitions, most recently at the NY MoMA, the Luxembourg MUDAM, Somerset House Gallery, the London Design Museum and the Basel Art Fair.
Julie Cunningham was born in Liverpool and trained at Rambert School. She danced for Ballett der Stadt Theater Koblenz, Germany, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in New York, with the Michael Clark Company in London, and more recently with Boris Charmatz and Jerome Bel. In 2014, Julie was awarded for Outstanding Modern Performance at the Critics Circle National Dance Awards and was nominated for the 2016 Awards for choreography. Julie has created work that has been performed at the Merce Cunningham Studio New York, Dance Base Edinburgh, Tramway, Glasgow, Siobhan Davies Studios, The Place, Wilderness Festival, Rambert, National Theatre River Stage, and the Barbican. Julie is the Leverhulme Choreography Fellow at Rambert for 2016/17 and part of the Dance Artist/Curator mentorship program at Siobhan Davies Dance.
What: Noam Toran: The Jungle — Exhibition
When: Wednesday 26 April - Wednesday 31 May 2017 (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 10am-2pm, closed Sunday) free and open to all.
Where: The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art