A programme of art, culture and new infrastructure to reimagine the future of the UK’s biggest council housing estate
Reaching into his own memory-bank of life in Dagenham and coming-of-age into adulthood, Larry Achiampong created a new score, titled These Ends. The piece combines new audio compositions and prose with field recordings and audio samples of places that are familiar to where Achiampong lived in the early 2000s with his father. This includes sounds that can be heard near Thaxted House (the post-war council building where Achiampong resided), Becontree Underground Station, vehicles traversing the A13 motorway route and Old Dagenham Park.
Looking at both personal and communal heritage through the lens of the landscape and life in the area, Achiampong’s investigations, although centered on his experiences, serve to expose the lived realities of socio-economic deprivation, racism and abandonment more broadly during the new millennium. A time when the failures of New Labour and the reverberations of 9/11 could be felt widely and deeply in Essex, which the artist recounts through this work.
This audio work was developed using “Sanko-time” a concept developed by the artist that relates to the Ghanaian Twi word Sankofa, which roughly translates as to “go back for what has been left behind” and alludes to using the past as a vehicle to prepare for the future. Sonically, Achiampong calls upon his memories, as ghost-like presences, that subtly envelope his composition to thus emanate feelings of dysphoria.
These Ends focuses on scenarios that form a part of the script for Achiampong’s most ambitious film to date (working titled), Journey Home, which was presented in the artist’s first major solo exhibition at Turner Contemporary, Margate in 2022.
Larry Achiampong’s solo and collaborative projects employ imagery, aural and visual archives, live performance and sound to explore ideas surrounding class, cross-cultural and post-digital identity. With works that examine his communal and personal heritage, in particular, the intersection between pop culture and the postcolonial position, Larry crate-digs the vaults of history. These investigations examine constructions of ‘the self’ by splicing the audible and visual materials of personal and interpersonal archives, offering multiple perspectives that reveal entrenched socio-political contradictions in contemporary society.
Commissioned by Create London, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.