Mikhail Karikis’ artistic practice emerges from his long-standing investigation of the voice as a material and a socio-political agent. He collaborates with communities connected to places of production to generate site-specific performances to camera, which explore the role sound plays in creating a sense of collectivity, highlighting alternative modes of human existence, work and action.
In 2015 Karikis worked for almost a year with teenage boys from the Isle of Grain – a stark and sparsely populated Kentish marshland dominated by industry, military ruins and rare wetland birds. In its recent history, industrial retrenchment means that the village population can no longer rely on finding work locally. Living in Grain village is particularly challenging for adolescents and young adult. In response to the isolation of their village and the lack of space for teenagers, kids have been organising raves in a local wood, recently raided by the police. Using as their beat the persistent crushing noises of the demolition of a neighbouring power plant, 11 to 13-year-old boys from Grain sing a rap song they wrote about their lives, recalling memories of being younger and imagining their old age and future.
Reminiscent of a music video Ain’t Got No Fear (2016) glimpses teenage experiences on the edges of urbanity by following youths to their secret underground hideaways and capturing their rackety reclaiming of the local site where raves used to take place. The work reveals a way in which industrial sites are often re-imagined by youths with a form of spatial justice defined by friendship and play, the thrill of subverting authority and evading adult surveillance.
Mikhail Karikis (b. 1975 Thessaloniki, Greece) is a Greek/British artist based in London and Lisbon. His work embraces moving image, sound and other media to create immersive audio-visual installations and performances which emerge from his long-standing investigation of the voice as a sculptural material and a socio-political agent. The themes of labour, industrial landscapes and the voices of their inhabitants have been a preoccupation of his recent films.
Ain’t Got No Fear was commissioned by Whitstable Biennale 2016 & Ideas Test. This exhibition is supported in part by the Ministry of Education and Culture.