As part of Serpentine Cinema, artist Helen Cammock presented the première of her new film work There’s a Hole in the Sky Part II; Listening to James Baldwin alongside her recent film, There’s a Hole in the Sky Part I and two performances, Song and Shiver and Freedom Song (all 2016)
Shot on location in Barbados, There’s a Hole in the Sky Part I asks questions about worth and value – both cultural and human. In this film, Cammock interacts with workers from two sites: one of the last sugar factories in Barbados and a tourist sugar grind and rum plantation. The fragmented dialogue around labour and cultural transference develops a disjunction, through prose and song, between what is seen and what is heard. The script extends from Cammock’s own writing, research and found excerpts from newspapers and texts from writers including Maya Angelou, as well as Barbadians George Lamming and Derek Walcott.
The new work, There’s a Hole in the Sky Part part II; listening to James Baldwin, is set around an imagined conversation with writer James Baldwin. The film considers migrations, forced or voluntary, by Black American writers and dancers who moved to Europe to receive wider work and recognition. Listening to James Baldwin layers multiple and different experiences, exploring the dynamics of appropriation and power. Set in the Docklands in East London, the film builds upon Cammock’s interest in failing colonial industries, against the backdrop of the futurity of new-build flats and transport links in the area.
Extending the concerns of her film works, the performance Song and Shiver brings together poetry, philosophical text and Caribbean folk song, while new live work Freedom Song considers interwoven violent structures based on race, gender and homophobia.
Helen Cammock graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2011. Using photography, video, poetry, writing, printmaking and installation her practice considers how individual and collective experiences embody the consequences of structural inequality by exploring differing societal experiences within systems of representation. She weaves different contexts and forms together and her fragmented narratives cross boundaries of time and place. Recent screenings/exhibitions include: Open Source Contemporary Arts festival, May 2016; Transform, Carte de Visite – curated by Lubaina Himid, Hollybush Gardens, Dec 2015; Tate Artists Moving Image Screening Programme, Tate Britain, 2015; You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows, Hollybush Gardens, 2014; London Art Now, Lodge Park National Trust, 2013; Oriel Davis Open, 2012; Out of The Archives, The Women’s Library London, 2009. She has written for Photoworks and Aperture magazine and was shortlisted for the Bridport poetry prize in 2015. Helen was co-director of Brighton Photo Fringe Festival for four years.