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Original Cultures

The London collective building bridges between grass roots art and music from Japan and Europe

Laurent Fintoni is a DJ, writer and founder of Original Cultures, non-profit collective connecting Japanese and European underground arts. “The greatest shame today is that a lot of Japan-related art in the west is always about the traditional, yet at an underground level there is an insane amount of amazing stuff happening. And the same goes for Europe,” explains Fintoni. “We're hoping to change that. I left Japan to come back to Europe in 2008 and it was clear to me that something was needed to help connect these art scenes.”

The Original Cultures exhibition launches on 11th February at Stolen Space with a series of picture discs, 7”s and collaborative prints (one of which you can see above) by illustrative heros Will Barras, Ericailcane and DEM representing Europe, and music from the Japanese beats producer Tatsuki alongside London’s blazing Om Unit. “The constantly expanding universal consciousness bringing music and visual art closer, whether it be Brainfeeder in the US, Musique Large in France or LuckyMe in Scotland, it's clear everyone is on a similar tip, and I mean that in a good way,” says Fintoni. Two of Barras’s designs are evolved from his past involvement with labels like Breakin’ Bread. “Me and my friend Akin came up with music machine that exists under your bedroom floor. The second was going to be for a record sleeve. It’s a rubber duck and some musical lily-pads. You can never see bottom of those ponds so who knows what goes on down there...”

Alongside the exhibition (check online for details of their closing party on the 4th March) there will be music workshops featuring Om Unit and Tatsuki as well as a collaborative live show featuring video installations from Japan’s Hiraki Sawa and a visual accompaniment for the music, written over three days by the artists. “This isn't some simple promotion thing,” states Fintoni. “It's a long-term engagement for all involved to build something meaningful that can be shared, enjoyed and serve as inspiration for the artists and the public. It's early days mind, we're still very much building our foundations, but you know one step at a time and all that.”