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Post Apocalyptic Mead Hall, June 2015 reclaimed timber and performance.

Post Apocalyptic Mead Hall, 2015 was an 8 week socially responsive artwork set in Stirchley, South Birmingham.

Through 7 weeks of textile workshops with residents we discussed Stirchley’s past and present, the 17 year battle with Tesco, the loss of public spaces, amenities and homes for private businesses and the combined effect on the generations in the area. With this information Hipkiss and Graney developed an interactive performance and sculptural piece called Post Apocalyptic Mead Hall. The work played with the idea of magical/ shamanic actions and iconography being collectively employed by fractured communities to change the socially damaging effects of private companies. Partnering with local producers, allotments and businesses to amalgamate the disconnected branches of the community, the artists delivered a dining event for local residents with sculptural, video, sound and performative elements. The “Mead Hall Table” was built from the ruins of the community centre destroyed by Tesco’s 14 years prior.

The “Mead Hall Masks” were blank papier mâché forms with eye and mouth holes placed on residents seats. The audience were invited to paint and ply their masks whilst thinking about Stirchley. Through the combined artworks in play (film, sound, performance) the artists invoked a transformative state designed to erase any perception of the area and replace it with one that they have collectively created themselves. The ceremony was consecrated with the drinking of Mead (a recurring art object in our work that we feel symbolises the connection that ecological processes have with human societies).

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