Dazed has an exclusive preview of the London photo project that makes up part of Paved With Gold, a wildly inspiring multi-media, group performance launching tomorrow night at the new Tanks space at the Tate Modern. A creative collaboration that starts with Cieron Magat and Nina Manandhar of British style platform ISYS and east London’s NTS radio station to create a one-night-only city symphony. An exploration of young British identity that combines a three-years-in-the-making film by ISYS, specially created music by emerging artists Slime, Vondelpark, Dark Sky, My Panda Shall Fly and CKTRL, and a soundscape by RPBLC of Many Voices set to visuals by Lewis Teague Wright. Plus poetry by James Massiah and a vast photography idea that saw Magat and Manandhar give disposable cameras to everyone involved in the project to shoot their lives over the Olympic period. It’s an unmissable and epic celebration of what it means to be young and free in our dear city of London.
I actually enjoyed most elements of the Olympics and I think it will have inspired young people. However, I think it totally sucks that the government are selling off playing fields all over the country and making massive cuts in education
Dazed Digital: Can you tell us about the Olympic photo montage?
Nina Manandhar: We asked everyone involved from the musicians to people that we've shot for the films like Temple, the girl who dresses to match her dalmatian dog and the teenage beekeepers. It was about seeing things from their vantage point, their eyes, as well as ours. People living literally on the same streets photographed entirely different things which reflect their experience of life in London in 2012. We could have done it via people’s camera phones but it’s always nice to get a roll of film back with unexpected results - for us and them.
DD: Being based in east London - what are your thoughts on the aftermath of the Olympics?
Nina Manandhar: I actually enjoyed most elements of the Olympics and I think it will have inspired young people. However, I think it totally sucks and is a massive contradiction that all this time it’s going on, the government are selling off playing fields all over the country and making massive cuts in education. In terms of the Olympics and youth cultures you don't need an Olympic Games to give people a cultural identity. Homegrown creative regeneration and creativity goes on day in, day out, people make something out of what they've got, and we've tried to show that in the film.
DD: What does Paved With Gold mean to you, personally?
Cieron Magat: It’s an audio visual celebration of the city’s young heart. It's modest but ambitious too. We've also put together a mini youth orchestra to perform with the artists on the night. The stuff we make relies on imaginative input from the person viewing. It’s not an art group show, it’s a group of people putting on a show who have come together from different fields and places to create a one off act of expression that's purely for the people in the room. It reflects not only an unseen side of London but also the results of what young people in London can achieve if given a chance to make something. Personally, I'm just trying not to get punched by Nina because I'm not doing the exporting of videos quick enough.
DD: How would you describe what you are exploring with ISYS?
Nina Manandhar: Celebrating and romanticising the unseen in the city, and making a place for it in the archive. Being a tourist in your own post code. Collaboration is a big part of our approach, particularly with this project. Be it between myself and Cieron, ISYS and NTS, the musicians and the youth orchestra, us and the poet James Massiah. It isn't always always easy to do but at the end of the day the rewards are greater than the strains.
DD: A lot can happen in a day... what inspires you about daily life in London?
Cieron Magat: Unlimitedness.
DD: If our streets are paved with gold, what lies beneath?
Cieron Magat: Fertile land.
Paved With Gold launches on Friday 24th August at The Tanks at Tate Modern, 7 - 9.30pm