Blanc Noir

Sarah Doyle, Sophie MacCorquodale, Cathy Lomax,
Stephen Davids, Lydia Maria Julien, Gary O'Connor

Gary O'Connor

Little Giant installation at Blanc Noir 13 Oct - 18 Nov 2007

Gary'O Connor's work for Blanc Noir is in two distinct parts. In the gallery he is showing the interactive Little Giant installation (see image above). He has also made a Blanc Noir audio piece with contributions from Roger Huddle, Don Letts, Barry 'Scratchy' Myers and Lowell 'Spirit' Grant.

You are listening to a two minute sample.
Download the full 29 minute BLANC NOIR AUDIO as an mp3 file here

"My work for Blanc Noir examines a period in British history when black and white culture clashed resulting in a powerful exchange of artistic ideas and political shifts that still resonate today. By the mid 1970s a generation of young British blacks had discovered Jamaican roots reggae, and in 1976 came the eruption of punk rock. I discovered reggae music as a teenager going to see bands such as The Adverts, The Ruts and The Clash. In between sets some DJs would spin tunes by black artists like U-Roy and Big Youth, back to back with the Sex Pistols, The Ramones and other punk bands of the day. It is easy to see how black culture of that period had such an impact on a generation of disillusioned white kids: the music was infectious and the messages of social bondage and anti-establishment resonated with the punks. This relationship was further cemented by the emergence of the Rock Against Racism movement: it was RAR's policy to always place black and white bands together on the same bill in an attempt to unite people of all races and make a stand against the increasing popularity of the National Front, and of course the music was predominantly performed by reggae and punk bands.

To some degree, Little Giant explores these issues on a personal level, but in a broader sense the work is a statement about the power of music and the crossing over of cultural ideas. For Blanc Noir (the audio) I have drawn on aspects of dub reggae and set the thoughts and recollections of four men who share a passion for music and an understanding of its potential to change our lives, to the sound of a human heartbeat: the rhythm within all of us that knows no distinction between colour and race.

I would like to thank Roger Huddle, Don Letts, Barry 'Scratchy' Myers and Lowell 'Spirit' Grant for their kind contributions and agreeing to take part in this project, and a special thank you to Alex Michon for her help and support."

Gary O'Connor 2007


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