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MIDWAY - A New Audiovisual Project by Tom Barnes

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Islington Metal Works

Ground Floor

7 Torrens Street

London

EC1V 1NQ

United Kingdom

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MIDWAY is the screening of a new audio-visual composition by Tom Barnes, as the culmination of his residency with leading keyboard manufacturer ROLI.

In collaboration with Sound and Music and filmmaker Marco Alessi, MIDWAY features improvisations on the ROLI Seaboard Rise by the residents of Midway House, an unassuming 76-flat council estate in Islington. Tom has recorded sounds indigenous to the building, and asked inhabitants to improvise with them on the Seaboard. As a response, the improvisations have been orchestrated to be performed by a live string quartet accompanying the documentary-style film, alongside interviews Tom held with the participants, forming a series of character portraits documenting various lived experiences of Midway House.

MIDWAY addresses the question of who can improvise, and interrogates the reasons for which we consider one musical voice to have more or less value than another. The estate boasts a diverse demographic, from young professionals and students, to council-renting families and elderly inhabitants who moved in in the late 1970s. As London’s deepening gentrification continues, it is important to reflect on how this trend manifests not only in public spaces but in private residential ones as well. MIDWAY takes a snapshot of a morphing community set against the backdrop of the building’s stunning brutalist architecture.

The Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017 has shone a light on forgotten communities in increasingly wealthy areas of the capital. As large, ‘exclusive’ tower blocks increasingly appear in the surrounding area, Midway House is a reminder of the close-knit communities that are being torn apart in a changing metropolitan landscape. Part ethnomusicological study, part documentary film, MIDWAY is a socially driven work with an aim of celebrating community building in a city that is set on driving vulnerable communities apart.

Doors: 7pm

Screening & Performance: 8pm

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Islington Metal Works

Ground Floor

7 Torrens Street

London

EC1V 1NQ

United Kingdom

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