Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder - Installation view (02)

Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder - Installation view (02)
Archive Shelf Location BALTIC2023M
Publication Date 20 May 2023

Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder (installation view, Gaming Room)

Baltic presents the first major solo exhibition by British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong. Working in film, sculpture, installation, sound, collage, music and performance, Achiampong draws on his shared and personal heritage to explore class, gender, the intersection between popular culture and the residues of colonisation. His work examines digital identities and constructions of ‘the self’, offering multiple perspectives that reveal the deeply entrenched inequalities in our society.

The exhibition in our Level 3 gallery includes the commissioned feature-length film Wayfinder (2022) which follows a young girl’s intrepid journey across England, from Hadrian’s Wall in the North to Margate in the South, and the people and places she encounters. Set in a pandemic, Achiampong’s most ambitious film to date considers class and economic exclusion, belonging and displacement, cultural heritage and the meaning of home. Other works include the largest UK presentation of the artist’s multi-disciplinary Relic Traveller project (2017–ongoing) alongside sculpture, photographs, video and a gaming room on Level 2.

This exhibition has been organised by Turner Contemporary with MK Gallery and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. The film Wayfinder has been commissioned by Turner Contemporary with MK Gallery and Baltic.

Gaming Room

This room is a collaboration between Larry Achiampong, Turner Contemporary in Margate, gaming enthusiasts and industry experts.

A letter from Larry Achiampong:

To one and all, greetings!

The games in this room were chosen to take you on a journey, to travel and to wayfind, across multiple landscapes and virtual dimensions. In one way or another, through visual, audible, play-based tendencies and more, games are significant in the stories I tell as an artist, and I wanted to find a way to share that with you in this space.

I have an intimate relationship with gaming that spans decades. One of my earliest memories that got me hooked into the culture was looking at the console itself. In the late 80s, my brother had a Sega Master System – the thing looked like an alien spaceship! I was so transfixed by the music and strong colours in games such as Shinobi, Hang-On, Alex Kidd and more...

I can still remember the first time I heard the catchy soundtrack to Super Mario Brothers 3 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. I sat cross-legged on my cousin's bedroom floor in a daze of delight as we travelled across audible resonances from Reggae to Waltz-based classical themes.

Gaming was very much a part of my childhood growing up and continues to play a significant role in my life now. For example, gaming as a parent has opened up a whole new chapter in ways that I am teaching my children, whilst they also open my horizons towards new things. At the heart of it, I really enjoy being absorbed within a world cut out from reality, that hyperdrives you into a new one entirely.

It inspires me to think about the small things: the Easter eggs in my work that reference a moment. I would say it’s similar to the way people might reference something culturally significant, like a book or a piece of music. I also think about how one exists within the virtual space, and the philosophical questions gaming, and play each throw up.

There are connections between the games in this room and the rest of the show. Those who are open to playing and exploring might see between the lines but ultimately, this is a communal space. A place to chill out, where hopefully you might make some friends or have a game with someone. It's a gesture to connect with others.


Credit Reece Straw
Copyright © 2023 Baltic
Format JPEG
Related Artist Larry Achiampong
Months May 2023, June 2023, July 2023, August 2023, September 2023, October 2023
Keywords Social Inequality, Digital identity, Personal history, Heritage, Popular culture, Video Games, Class (concept), Race (concept), Gender, Colonisation, economic exclusion, Pandemic, Belonging, Displacement, Home (concept), flags, speculative future, Space travel
Related Event Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder (20 May – 29 Oct 2023)
Related Gallery BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

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