Aspex Gallery in Gunwharf Quays presents The Endless Village – a satirical sitcom from General Public, set in an imagined future post-Brexit Britain. Investigating life, localism and trade relations, the artist’s moving image work – an ambitious sitcom pilot entitled Banana Day – presents a satirical meditation on future daily life in NFKATUK – the Nation Formerly Known As The UK:
It is 2066, 50 years since Brexit and 1000 years since the Norman Conquest. A devolution revolution has gripped the public consciousness as first countries – then counties sought political control on a local level leading to a succession of endless villages, tribes and small self- sufficient communities. The resulting breakdown in global trade renders legally sourced bananas as virtually non-existent.
But each year in Kingdom#3, a special community celebration is held called ‘Banana Day’, a time to celebrate the forbidden fruit. Why do Kingdom#3 insist on celebrating the banana, an unavailable fruit with a dark colonial history?
How will they possibly find a banana in time and what ethical compromise will its purchase entail?
Written and produced by General Public (visual artists Chris Poolman & Elizabeth Rowe), with a cast of professional actors and filmed by Oli Clark, a former BBC director/producer whose TV credits include the BAFTA award-winning series Coast, The Endless Village will be presented as an exhibition at Aspex, and in Summer 2018 at Eastside Projects in Birmingham.
Alongside the moving image work, the exhibition will feature props and costumes from the film, archival material relating to the global banana trade, oral history interviews with elderly residents of Sparkbrook (an inner city area of Birmingham) who remember life before bananas and fictional artefacts from life in NFKATUK (The Nation Formerly Known As The UK).
“The project takes its name from a book by Bunny Teagle called The Endless Village (1972) – a pioneering study of the natural history of Birmingham and the Black Country. He argued that the natural heritage of Birmingham and the Black Country is inextricably woven into its social, industrial and cultural heritage. The project was filmed on location in pockets of ‘urban countryside’ that populate Birmingham – contemporary parallels to those identified by Bunny Teagle.”
General Public will also be undertaking a residency at Aspex from 30 May – 3 June 2018. During this time they will be hosting a series of participatory events in response to the exhibition. The Endless Village will be on show at Aspex from March 30th to June 10th, with a Preview this Thursday from 6 pm.