Exeter Phoenix and Blind Ditch present Street LAB, a micro-festival of live art busking hitting the streets of the Exeter during Art Week Exeter (13 – 21 May 2017). The festival showcases an exciting array of entertaining and politically engaged concepts designed bring audiences in public sites into lively encounters with contemporary live art practice with a musical twist.
Street music is at the heart of historical debates around taste, place and disruption; often described as being democratic and open to anyone, particularly those with limited means. Live Art also engages with the forms and the politics of the margins, offering a haven to artists whose practice does not necessarily comply with the strictures of the traditional. Street LAB looks to mix up these genres, bringing together performances combining street music and live art.
Five artists will bring work to life at a range of public sites around Exeter, from retail centres to busy street corners, during Art Week Exeter this May. Alongside two new commissions created by performance artist Alistair Gentry and musical performance duo Asthma, internationally acclaimed Berlin artists Princessin Hans will be bringing The Song Dispensary to Exeter – a place for audience members to order and pick up prescription songs, written live and exclusively for them. Gentry’s project A Five Year Old Could Do That humorously challenges the criticisms often leveled at contemporary art, while Asthma’s Get It Off Your Chest invites participants to join them for a live, improvised dance jam of a performance using gathered sounds from the city’s streets.
The festival also includes opportunities for the public to get musical, with the positioning of pop-up pianos at various locations around the city centre. Jazz duo Neil Todd and Charlie Hearneshaw will be launching the first day of piano pop-ups with jamming sessions on Saturday 13th May, before the pianos are let loose on the public, for people to try their own hand at busking, or just come to listen to a range of musical talent.