28 Sep 2010
The Last Tape 
The Last Tape is a new commission by British artist Haroon Mirza. The work, comprising film and sculptural assemblage, sews together Krapp’s Last Tape (a one-act play written by Samuel Beckett) and Mirza’s exploration of post-punk pioneers Joy Division.

The Last Tape, featuring actor and musician Richard ‘Kid’ Strange, is a reinterpretation of Beckett’s play in which its protagonist, Krapp, looks back at the events of his life as recorded onto tape each birthday. Using previously unrecorded lyrics written by Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, the film depicts Strange enacting the lyrics onto magnetic tape. Strange engages with both the lyrical content and the audible sounds created by the accompanying sculptural works, which includes furniture, turntable, radio, and LCD screen stripped of its backlight and casing, in a performative manner. An awkwardly balanced strobe intermittently illuminates the screen, indirectly referencing Curtis’ epilepsy.

The exhibition is presented in VIVID’s project space in Eastside, Birmingham from Thursday 23 September to Saturday 16 October 2010.

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Biting Tongues

In the grey days of late 1970s post-punk Manchester, youth culture was a serious affair: every musical performance was measured mostly by the conviction of its delivery. The term 'New Wave' opened up free vistas where acquired skills could once again be exercised after punk's monochrome blur. It could be applied to anything from a James 'Blood' Ulmer record to the latest Throbbing Gristle release, Magazine to Swell Maps. Move outside that terrain into Sun Ra, Parliament, Frank Sinatra and Martin Denny, and your options were suddenly without limit...

Then came Tony Wilson's Factory Club (at the Russell Club in Hulme) offering an open invitation to experiment that was taken up when Ken Hollings, Howard Walmsley, Eddie Sherwood and a few others decided to make some noise to accompany their 16mm silent epic Biting Tongues. A further performance followed a few weeks later, when Colin Seddon and Graham Massey disbanded their Post Natals project and joined up. The film itself, a flashing series of negative images, became a memory; the name remained.

- extract from the LTM Biting Tongues biography

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