Tate opens its doors after-hours for a night designed for young people, by young people
The most recent Late at Tate series, which takes place at the Tate Britain every first Friday of the month until December, and most importantly is completely free, focuses on the theme of ‘status’. Each Late has a buzz word and is exclusively curated by Tate Collective London: a group of 15-25 year olds who host a range of shows, free events and festivals throughout London. This month’s buzz word was ‘power’ and there were talks, workshops and commissioned pieces that were used to demonstrate different forms of power through advertising, status, gender and identity.
Our first point of call was the free discussion with the girl band Skinny Girl Diet, showing a range of music videos that bought up issues of gender, power and identity. Whilst some of the videos they showed were empowering in relation to superficial or obvious elements of feminism, the real audience discussion after they showed Tyler, The Creator’s video BUFFALO. The panel talked in depth about the rappers use of the word ‘faggot’, part of a long debate strung out over the last six years, but massively missed out on the creative direction of the video that focused on a black man, in white face, being lynched by a collective of black rioters. The video presented deeper meaning than was being discussed, and the dialogue of ‘power’ was somewhat lost.
There were parts of the discussion that were contradictory: on one hand feminism meant not playing up to mens sexual desires, however this was quickly confused when Rihanna apparently didn’t look ‘desirable’ in her B*tch Better Have my Money video. What I found most frustrating about this talk were some of the huge and outrageous statements made. For example, the assumption that because Rihanna is angry in her video, she is feeding a stereotype about black people in general, (which in itself is a sweeping statement), but is that to say that women, particularly black women, aren’t meant to show their emotions, and anger in particular? On top of this, the call for female solidarity, ‘one for all’ and sticking together haunted the discussion of this video, assuming that all women should like each other and agree all the time, which we all know isn’t the case and never will be. Instead of classifying each woman as a person within her own right, with her own complex web of emotions and interpersonal relationship skills, it categorised them as whole.
The discussion itself was entertaining and eventually insightful when conversation began being directed by the audience and the London Collective group. It was a shame that the girl band didn’t have anything deeper or more coherent to say, but their willing and open attitude invited the audience in more than perhaps a panel of experts would.
We made our way to the workshop, hosted by illustrator Nate Kitch, which consisted of a room filled with magazines, newspapers, coloured paper, scissors and glue, and aimed to show the ability to manipulate power through montage. The walls were scattered with a selection of Dada and Constructivist-esque montages, with David Cameron’s face scattered across a vast majority of them. It actually proved quite a challenge to think of anything original, and I ended up basically just reading the Metro. The whole workshop itself though was actually a great idea and the room was full with people getting creative.
Tate Speakers : Native Sun
Throughout the night there was a selection of DJ’s and musicians playing in a main area of the Tate, turning this great art institute into what would be an amazing club.
I would highly recommend a trip to the next Late at Tate, which will focus on the body, and as a completely free cultural event you really can’t go wrong.
Featured image credit: Tate Photography
Other images: Tate Photography