On Saturday 17 July 2021, Sculpture in the City and Whitechapel Gallery celebrated the third edition of Nocturnal Creatures. Nocturnal Creatures is Whitechapel Gallery’s annual free late night contemporary art festival. For one night only, a host of extraordinary east-end spaces were transformed by an exciting programme of installations, performances, music, film and culinary experiences.
Laura Arminda Kingsley activated the site of her installation Murmurs of the Deep, which is situated at the escalators of the Leadenhall building with a sound installation. The sound installation consisted of a recording of a poem, written in response to the piece playing in a continuous loop for the duration of the event (6-11 pm). In sharing this poem, inspired by the deep time history of our oceans and waterways; the artist hoped to offer the audience an alternative perspective with which to reconsider their place in the world.
Oliver Bragg set up a small gardening station in Jubilee Gardens where he provided potted seeds with instructions on how to grow, nurture and harvest the hemp to people who wish to take one. Following the event, participants will receive details on how to create sculptural material from their hemp. This was accompanied by Mother Earth’s Plantasia, an electronic album by Mort Garson first released in 1976 and composed specifically for plants to listen to.
Jake Elwes will took visitors through the creation of Latent Space with journalist Tabish Khan (Visual Arts Editor, Londonist). Elwes spoke about the processes and evolution of what can now perhaps be considered Artificial Intelligence in its infancy.
Jun T. Lai’s Alice in Wonderland activated the installation site of her work Bloom Paradise. Professional roller skaters dressed in a costume created by the artist depicted a modern day Alice, representing ideas of love and hope. The performance aimed to evoke the sense of flowers blooming in a journey of exploration and adventure. Visitors received floral paper masks designed by the artist, which also contain QR codes linking to an electronic version of Für Elise.
Isabella Martin performed a live reading of Shells & Time, a short story by Italo Calvino which inspired the work Keeping Time, exhibited at 99 Bishopsgate. It recounts the attempts of a shell trying to create a clock from its body, and explores our small attempts to keep track of time passing in a world in flux.
Rosanne Robertson presented an electro-acoustic performance made by ‘sounding out’ the materials of their public sculpture Stone (Butch), combined with a ‘cut up’ performative reading of Les Feinberg’s revolutionary novel Stone Butch Blues, from which this body of works exploring the terrain of the Queer body, ranging performance, drawing and sculpture has taken inspiration.
Almuth Tebbenhoff joined participants for two sittings where they meditated together in a Mindful Meditation – once at the start of the evening then again at sunset. Either side of which, the audience was invited to drop in and sit around. Creating a mindful, calm oasis within the buzzing energy of the Nocturnal Creatures overall programme.
Thematic tours of the tenth edition of Sculpture in the City were led throughout the evening, including ‘Where Art Meets Architecture’ by David Rosenberg of Velorose.
Sculpture in the City’s 10th Edition multimedia guide on Bloomberg Connects was also premiered during Nocturnal Creatures, bringing the sculptures to life with a self-guided audio tour with sound clips from the artists.
The Sculpture in the City programme for Nocturnal Creatures was supported by the City of London Corporation.
Photos courtesy of Cenan Nazif and Nick Turpin.